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Sugar, Sugar Everywhere! What’s a Sweet Tooth to Do?

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November 16, 2016 by Johanna Burani

Do you consume more than 6 – 9 teaspoons of sugar a day? Do you know how many sugar calories are added to your daily diet?  Do you even know how much sugar enters your body on an average day?

Well, if you’re a typical American, according to the 2005-10 NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), you’re eating and drinking about 20 teaspoons of sugar every day.  That translates into about 66 lbs. of sugar per person per year.  Said differently, added sugars contribute 335 calories to the diets of men, 230 calories to women, 362 calories to boys and 282 calories to girls – every day. That’s the bad news.

In 2014 the FDA, in an effort to help us become more mindful of our sugar consumption, proposed an important update to the Nutrition Facts labels carried on all processed foods.  The new label will show a clear breakdown of sugar contained in a specific food product.  This means labels will show total grams of sugar in a product but also whether they are naturally occurring, or added, or both.  Nutritionists view this as some long-awaited good news.

Sugars and sweeteners have many different names and uses.  I’m not going to list them here. There are some direct health concerns linked to the overuse of added sugars.  I’m not going to mention them either.  I refer you instead to an excellent summary prepared by the American Heart Association. CLICK HERE.

And if you want to do more than scratch the surface on sugars and sweeteners information, here is the book for you:

The Ultimate Guide to Sugars & Sweeteners by Alan Barclay, PhD, Philippa Sandall and Claudia Shwide-Slavin, MS, RD, CDE

What I will tell you, though, is that there is a place in your diet for added sugars and sweeteners. The word to remember is “moderation” and the numbers to remember are “6 teaspoons/25 grams/100 calories” if you are a woman and “9 teaspoons/38 grams/150 calories” if you are a man.  If the numbers are too hard to remember, just cut your current intake of sweetened beverages and fruit drinks, candy, cookies and cake, ice cream and sweetened yogurt by 50% and you’ll be well on your way to a much improved diet.

Here are two dessert recipes that fit the bill for no-added-sugar or moderately added sugars that will please the palate.  Mother Nature had a hand in these recipes.  Maybe she has a sweet tooth too!

Caramelized Autumn Fruit with Yogurt Sauce – Italian Style

Fruit Compote with Grand Marnier


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Gushers vs Tricklers


"Gushers" are quickly-digested carbohydrates that cause a rapid rise in blood glucose and fuel appetite.

"Tricklers" are slowly-digested carbohydrates that are gradually released into the bloodstream and sustain satiety. These are the good carbs.


Johanna Burani
MS, RD, CDE
Nutrition Works LLC
Morristown, NJ, USA

Expert in individualized, low-glycemic index (low GI) meal planning.

This book tells the complete story

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