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San Clemente Wellness

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Much conversation spurred by the new documentary "What the Health?". Whatever side you are on or lean toward, I want to remember how much we all agree upon. This is my favorite reminder and am called to watch it often.
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Do you know how much sugar you eat each day? Have you ever monitored that? Would you be surprised to know that 37 teaspoons a day is average!?

The World Health Organization recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day (equivalent to 5 teaspoons). This is because excess sugar intake can cause silent inflammation, spike your blood sugar levels, cause you to feel more hungry, have mood swings, store excess fat, and worse… can cause diabetes and a whole host of other issues.

So let’s kick this inflammation-causing fire-starter to the curb and not invite it into your body in the first place! I challenge you to understand and limit your sugar intake. I am going to split this into two groups:

Group 1: Your blood sugar and weight is normal (85 fasting w/HbA1c 5.3 or less). You will want to just document SUGARS on the label of your food and keep them to UNDER 25 grams per day, each day this week! Sugar that is naturally occurring in the whole foods that you’re eating is ok. You can start with writing down everything you eat during the day (be honest!), and then use ingredient labels or simply Google how many grams of sugar each food has and count. By the way, a teaspoon of sugar is 4.2 grams.
This means that any recipe that has “sugar” in it should get shuffled to the back of the box! This also means you need to limit the sugar in your coffee and check EVERY label of everything you’re eating this week!

Group 2: If you have extra weight and have/ suspect a blood sugar issue (fasting +85/hbA1c+5.4), it is more powerful to watch carbohydrates. I am asking you to calculate your sugar intake by teaspoon using CARBOHYDRATES and keep them UNDER 10 teaspoons each day, every day this week. This formula, created by Brenda Watson, is the number of carbohydrates (minus fiber) divided by 5. This equals the number of teaspoons of sugar consumed.

As an example, I am looking at my favorite bread, San Luis Sourdough. The label says Sugars equals 0g. The carbs are 23g and the fiber is 1g. For group 1, this is zero added sugar. For group 2, the formula would be 23-1= 22/5 = 4.4 teaspoons of sugar per slice. EEK - that is almost half of the 10 teaspoons allowed each day!

Let’s look at that croissant in the photo. I would say it is of medium size. According to nutritiondata, Sugars = 6.4 grams, carbs = 26.1, and fiber = 1.5. For group 1 it would simply count 6.4 toward the 25 for the day. For group 2, 26.1 -1.5 is 24.6 grams of carbs. Divide that by 5 to get 4.92 teaspoons of sugar in that crossiant.

Now let’s look at Chobani Greek Yogurt. I have a strawberry 5.3oz cup that says Sugars = 15, Carbs = 18, Fiber = 0. Group 1: This is 15 of your 25 grams for the day – yikes! Group 2: this calculates to 3.6 of your 10 teaspoons for the day.
See what I am doing here?

Group 1, you are more at risk of sugar addiction and acidity causing inflammation such as arthritis, IBS and osteoporosis. Group 2, you are more at risk for diabetes and the horrible cascade of challenges it causes. Neither scenario is a good choice so let’s tackle at least the understanding of our personal relationship with sugar.

Here are a few ways you can reduce your daily sugar consumption:
• Be more aware of what’s in the food you’re eating by reading the labels like we are doing this week. Awareness is key and small changes can make a huge difference.
• Drink more water, especially when you feel like snacking because cravings could be a sign of dehydration!
• Have healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner so you’ll be less hungry afterwards and won’t go around hunting for snacks.
• Try preparing your meals at home instead of eating out, because that’s one of the surest ways to really know what you are eating.
Are you in for this not-so-sweet challenge this week!? I am in group 2 and will post my tracking. Already had that piece of sourdough bread and wishing I would have made a better choice.
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