Friday, September 23, 2011

Beyond The Sugar Bowl

Some people do it every day without hesitation. They grab a soda from the fridge or convenience store. There is nothing like it to satiate a thirst. But did you ever stop to evaluate just how much sugar can be found in a regular soft drink? Companies that produce some of our favourite pop flavours report that a 355-millilitre can have as much as 39 grams of sugar, a whopping nine teaspoons. Can you even imagine putting nine teaspoons of sugar into one cup of coffee or tea?

Even though we have evolved to be such a health conscious society, news releases this week brought dramatic attention to a Statistics Canada report, stating the fact that Canadians still acquire about 20 per cent of their daily calories from sugar, and they consume on average 110 grams of sugar a day, the shocking equivalent of 26 teaspoons. While soft drinks might be the guiltiest party here, and teenagers are still the top sugar consumers peaking at 41 teaspoons daily, sugar does come from other sources.

The top five sources of sugar intake for Canadians age 9 to 18 are:
  • Soft drinks: regular 14.3%
  • Milk: 14.0%
  • Fruit: 10.6%
  • Confectionery: 10.3%
  • Fruit juice: 9.1%
Sugar does come in all shapes and sizes, not just the sugar bowl. Whether it’s from our food pals fruit and milk, or it has been added to improve the taste in things like soft drinks, candy, salad dressings and syrup, the body handles naturally occurring and added sugars in the same way. The difference being that foods high in additional sugars are known to have lower nutrient densities, and therefore provide little nutritional value for the body. Foods with naturally occurring sugars tend to be higher in nutrients and of greater benefit to the body’s energy systems.

So next time you are making a decision to fuel your tank for your fitness routine, an active day, or picking a snack for your child’s lunch, try to stick to the natural sugars. They, along with other forms of glucose from carbohydrates, provide so much more efficiency in making the body go.

For more information on nutrition, please contact SIRC.

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