Here’s an easy calculation you can do to see how much “sugar” you actually eat.

sugar spoonfulWould you eat 10 teaspoons of sugar?  Would you even eat one teaspoon of sugar?

  • If you drink a can of pop, you are consuming about 10 teaspoons of sugar.
  • If you eat a cup of plain whole wheat pasta you are consuming about 6 teaspoons of sugar

Below is a calculation you can do to determine how many teaspoons of sugar are in the foods you eat.

But first a few important notes:

1)  All sugars come from carbohydrates

2)  All carbohydrates break down into sugar in the body

3)  Not all carbohydrates are created equal.  Vegetables are wonderful carbohydrates.   Foods made with flour and/or sugar are NOT!

4)  The more fiber a carbohydrate has the better.  Fiber slows down the rate at which the sugar is released into the blood stream

Here’s the calculation: (this calc is not perfectly exact but close enough to use as a general rule)
1) Grab a food label and find the amount of total carbohydrate in grams
2) Subtract the fiber grams
3) Divide the result by 5
4) The answer you get is the number of teaspoons of sugar that you will ingest from the carbohydrate in one serving of that particular food

So how much sugar do we need?  At any given time of the day we need about one teaspoon of sugar in our blood stream to keep all systems stable.   To do this we need to ingest roughly 10-12 teaspoons of sugar a day.  No, not table sugar.   The sugars we need are naturally occuring in high quality carbohydrates like veggies, whole fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, etc.

On average, we in the United States take in about 35-40 teaspoons of sugar per day.  With many people ingesting upwards of 100 teaspoons of sugar a day. This is unacceptable and extremely unhealthy.  Sugar in excess is toxic, highly inflammatory and addictive.  Excess sugar is a major cause (if not the cause) of just about every chonic health condition and epidemic this country faces.

We all need to be more aware of what we eat.  Start by becoming a label reader.  Better yet, eat foods that don’t come with nutrition labels.  Ever seen a nutrition label on a piece of salmon?  Or broccoli?

Here are a few more examples of the sugar content of certain foods:  (these are averages, your brand may vary)

  • Cup of raw spinach (1 gram carb, 1 gram fiber) = 0 teaspoons of sugar
  • 8 oz orange juice (26 grams carb, 0 fiber) = 5 teaspoons sugar
  • One slice whole wheat flour bread (12 grams carb, 2 grams fiber) = 2 teaspoons sugar

Want to check out your favorite foods?  There is a great website that offers all this information and more.  The link is on my blog page under Related Links – called Nutrition Data.

Do yourself a favor.  Watch the sugar content of what you eat.  Your brain, heart, belly, knees, joints, skin, eyes, arteries, blood stream, etc would really appreciate it!


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