The SparkPeople Blog

Are You Consuming Too Much Sugar?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/29/2010 5:00 AM   :  170 comments   :  83,374 Views

Sugar provides such sweet memories for me. As a child growing up, my mother would often sing the Mary Poppins song A Spoonful of Sugar as she was encouraging us to do tasks and chores we did not want to do. When we had hiccups, she would offer a spoonful of the sweet white granules to suck on to help them go away.

As we seek to make healthier lifestyle choices, it is important to understand the role nutrients like sugar play in our life. Earlier this year I introduced readers to the Life's Simple 7 assessment tool by the American Heart Association designed to help people evaluate their cardiovascular health. Part of the goals of that assessment included maintaining a diet low in sugar.

A study released last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association validated the idea that high sugar consumption plays just as much of a role in heart disease risks as dietary fats. The study found a strong correlation between sugar consumption and lipid profiles. Study individuals with higher sugar consumption appeared to have lower HDL and higher triglyceride levels. These are opposite of what has been found to be protective against heart disease. Average added sugar consumption in the study was over 21 teaspoons per day, which provides over 320 additional calories to daily calorie intake. In comparison, The American Heart Association recommends women limit added sugars to less than six and a half teaspoons (25 grams) per day while men are advised to include less than nine teaspoons (37.5 grams) of added sugars. The World Health Organization suggests diets include no more than 10 percent of caloric intake from added sugars and sweeteners. If we are going to reduce our added sugar intake, perhaps we need to take a closer look to understand what they are and where they come from.

Carbohydrates consist of sugar units called saccharrides. Simple carbohydrates contain either one (monosaccharide) or two (disaccharide) units of sugar that can be quickly broken down and digested. This can be beneficial if someone with diabetes is suffering from low blood sugar levels. It can also be detrimental because research indicates sugar surges trigger insulin responses, which can elevate appetite and excess fat storage. Complex carbohydrates must be broken down into simple sugars during digestion to be used by the body. Because of this factor, complex carbohydrates take longer to be processed by the body so sugar enters the blood stream more slowly. While the body may use simple sugars similarly, it is important to understand the difference between their sources.

Naturally occurring sugars are those that are found naturally in foods along with other important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, or water. Fruits contain naturally occurring sugars called fructose while milk contains sugars known as lactose and those sugars help deliver nutrients necessary to promote health. Natural sugars are typically found in fresh fruit, 100% juice, milk and other whole food sources.

Added sugars are those that are not traditionally present in the food but added during processing to add or enhance flavor. Popular added sugars include table sugar, brown sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. Recently there has been a push for natural sweeteners such as honey, molasses, brown rice syrup and agave nectar. Regardless of whether it is an artificial or natural sweetener, if it is added to a food or beverage such as soft drinks, teas, candy, pies, cakes, cookies or canned fruits, it is an added sugar or sweetener.

It is important to be careful when evaluating your diet for sugar content. It is also necessary to understand what the Nutrition Facts Label is actually telling you related to carbohydrates, fiber, and sugar. The FDA guidelines require labeling of total carbohydrates with identification of what part of that total is fiber and what portion is sugar. Sugars on the nutrition facts label are "the weight in grams of all free monosaccharides and disaccharides in the food." It doesn't specify whether those free mono and di – saccharides are from naturally occurring or added sources only that they are present and in what amount. This is one reason why trying to track sugars on a nutrition tracker is difficult because all sugars are counted the same even though they would not all be considered nutritionally equal. If you are in the mood for a snack and you have three Oreo cookies, you would consume about three teaspoons of sugar with little other nutrients for use by the body. If you choose a serving of fresh strawberries instead, you would consume about 2 teaspoons of sugar along with a host of other health benefitting nutrients. One hundred percent apple juice and Coca Cola provide the same amount of sugar per ounce but very different accompanying nutrients.

Here are some tips to help you make your sugar intake as healthy as possible.

  • Try to select naturally occurring sugars whenever possible. Aim to keep added sugars to less than ten percent of your total calorie intake or around six and a half teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men per day. Although natural sugars may be on the marketing label, remember that cane or beet sugar, evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, and agave syrup are added sugars that should be limited.


  • When reading the Nutrition Facts Label, be sure to refer to the ingredients list to evaluate the source of the sugars that are reported. Remember the higher up on the list sugar is listed, the more sugar in the item. Some of the more common sugars include corn sweetener, dextrose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, maltose and sucrose.


  • Soft drinks account for approximately half of the added sugar intake in the American diet as well as many other sugar filled juice and sports drinks, waters and teas. You can make a significant reduction in added sugar intake by eliminating sugar filled drinks in favor of water or milk. Although 100% juice is a nutrient rich naturally occurring sugar source, it is best to limit them to no more than one cup per day.


  • There are many ways to reduce your added sugar gradually which makes it easier to stick with it for success. If you are a cereal lover, look at your favorite and see if there is another option. For instance, perhaps you could switch to Cheerios that provides less than a teaspoon of sugar per bowl instead of Frosted Mini Wheats, which contains three teaspoon per serving. If you usually select sweetened applesauce, try switching to unsweetened instead.


  • We all get cravings for something sweet. Before you reach for candy, think about nutrient rich naturally sweet options such as dried fruits like raisins, dates, or prunes. Spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, mace and nutmeg can add sweetness as well. Be creative with sweet spices to trick the tongue without adding sugars.
One teaspoon of sugar contains approximately 4 grams and 16 calories. Although there are naturally occurring sources, many of us consume too much sugar from added sources, which isn't healthy.

Do you need to reduce your added sugar intake? What steps have worked for you or will you take to reduce your sugar intake?


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   Hands-Only CPR: Saving a Life Becomes Easier

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 170
    New food labels will be showing the added sugar in foods soon.
    This should help in deciding what is best to eat and how much we are really consuming. - 3/6/2014   2:50:51 PM
  • 169
    Go ketogenic. I fast between 7pm and 12 noon every day. If I feel hungry, good! That means it's working. My diet: no sugar, no wheat or other grains (sprouted grain bread is ok), no fruit. If I am tempted to eat bread, I just think of the words "wheat belly" and I remember what it feels like after I eat grains. Look up ketogenic diet. - 7/9/2013   11:59:46 AM
  • 5KMAMA2
    168
    Hello. My name is Sue and I am a sugar whore! I live for sugar...I've tried carb free and all that happens is when I lose as much as I wanted, I end u gaining back 2 times as much. Sugar effects my attitude, I become like Jekyll and Hyde! How do I dump the sugar blues and stay away for good????

    - 7/3/2013   3:37:41 PM
  • DIBANANA
    167
    Sugar is my problem - 5/3/2013   10:19:29 AM
  • SOUP2NUTS
    166
    my only hope now concerning sugar addiction is inundating myself with the very things i shouldn't be eating - until i am thoroughly turned off! I've used this concept before with smoking and other addictions. after overindulging in something I enjoy, i somehow "turn off" - eventually? - 4/24/2013   8:02:29 AM
  • CELTICMAID
    165
    I have Easi-yo yoghurt and feel sanctimonious when my lunch is 1/2 bowl and ,my fruits to make about 3 with that BUT now it seems I am having too much sugar, none in tea or on cereal or porridge - so what do I do? I love my yoghurt - it is my big treat of the day. - 4/20/2013   6:22:12 PM
  • 164
    I am a sugar person but I have been making healthy choices since January 29,13 I gave up almost everything that had excessive amounts of sugar in there products don't have to go in details but I'm sure you know what I mean !! The only problem is my coffee in the morning ,I can't drink it without sugar but I have one cup a day and that cuts down on my sugar intake ,the other stuff I don't have it in my house no see, no do ,I have lost 18 pounds and just doing that helped a lot ,so I'm on my way to a no sugar life almost ,lol,!! - 3/7/2013   5:18:27 PM
  • 163
    I like sugar, and certainly I'm not above liking simple carb food items, but these days I'm trying to do much better about eating fruits instead of simple carbs because otherwise I can't get my nutrition categories to add up correctly. My biggest past downfall (an addiction I have had on-again, off-again) is Mountain Dew. Talk about a sugar problem! - 3/3/2013   7:20:23 PM
  • 162
    I have a significant sugar problem. It started when I was a kid. I can remember buttering bread and coating it with sugar and eating 2 or three slices of bread like this. I can remember loading my rice crispies with sugar (or cheerios, or [insert any cereal here]). Now, I reach for the same cookies each morning at the gas station and wash them down with a 20 oz bottle of mountain dew. When I was pregnant with my daughter, all I wanted was sugar. cookies, cakes, donuts, mountain dew, ice cream, etc. I have a serious sugar issue and I don't know how to tackle it... I don't know if I have the motivation, the drive or the discipline to tackle it. And it has me quite worried... - 6/23/2011   9:41:59 AM
  • MYHOLLYBEAR
    161
    I have found water and a touch of real lemon juice helps me stay away from sugary drinks - 8/11/2010   12:17:06 PM
  • 160
    I could echo everything others have said here... I'm currently on a "mini binge" with sugary food being MUCH too much of my daily caloric intake. I MUST stop cold turkey. Really, for me, nothing else is effective. - 7/18/2010   10:23:15 PM
  • 159
    I am NOT a sugar addict at all....but I have been monitoying my sugar intake as one of my goals is to take in LESS . THAT has not been easy. But monitoring most of the sugar I injest is natural occuring in the foods I eat. That sugar, is not as bad as ADDED sugar in processed foods....so ....LESS processed foods as well! - 7/1/2010   5:03:34 PM
  • PSYCHOJULES
    158
    i'm certainly an addict in shifts: many times i have to have some, other times i don't have much. i've learned that if i have sugar early a.m. (aka, cinnamon twists from my local kolache place), then i rarely want any more later in the day. coffee is the only time i add sugar, or to strawberries just to get them juicing slightly, i never add to anything else. though i admit a weakness to honey in my tea, the only other real sugar i use these days. i've reduced the amount i eat pretty well, and i'm working on reducing it more. i went off the wagon a while back, but i'm getting there and trying to reduce my intake quite a bit. - 5/13/2010   11:53:30 AM
  • LIZZY707
    157
    Yep, I'm a sugar addict too. I noticed that when I ate sugar that within 30 minutes my fingers would start to ache. I've been limiting my sugar to coffee in the am and beyond that I try to satisfy my sweet tooth via fruit. It has helped a lot, and my joints are hurting much less. - 5/7/2010   11:44:48 PM
  • LIVINGONMYTERMS
    156
    Although this article was interesting, there is so much information and conflicting information at that. All this information tends to leave people really confused about what is what, how one thing affects another and so on it goes. I go by a rule of thumb--eat natural, not alot of processed food and watch my portions. Any thing other than that will make you crazy. - 5/7/2010   7:40:57 PM
  • 155
    First & foremost, GREAT article. Mahalo for bring this subject to center stage. It gave me, as well as (I'm sure) many others some good insight & something to think about. I now find myself questioning my diet even more! I donít drink soda, at least not on an every day basis. MAYBE once a week but itís more like twice a month. I also donít drink coffee or tea as a staple in my Ďdietí. 9 out of 10, itís water. There is no candy in my house, but I confess to having a Ďminií snickers (the bite size ones) some times as much as 3 times a week. Now I wonder if that is too much. The article also really made me realize that I have to make a switch, itís going to take some will power & determination but now when I want sweets, I have to go for watermelon or strawberries (fruit!) instead of junk. Mahalo again for bringing these things to light for me!!

    I also want to comment on another members post in response to this article. I agree, I would like to know how the sweetener substitutes compare to each other & their impact on our sugar intake but belittling the author is absolutely unnecessary. I would think itís also common sense that drinking even diet soda will pack on pounds. Learn a little self control - 5/7/2010   3:14:21 PM
  • NONY10
    154
    I was looking for an answer to "how much sugar is okay?" when I read this article.
    It was most helpful. I try to stick to lots of fruits and veggies and stay away from processed food to maintain my weight. - 5/6/2010   9:36:14 PM
  • 153
    I always try to be mindful of my sugar intake.....I drink my herbal teas without......and in baked goods....i control portions. - 5/6/2010   8:49:11 PM
  • OLIVEZ
    152
    This was a great article and very informative. I am pretty good with the "no added sugar" but not so good when it comes to chocolate, I will usually have maybe 3-4 hershey's kisses or something similar when a craving hits (almost every other day). Do you think that sugar craving has something to do with hunger or thirst? - 5/5/2010   9:49:53 AM
  • 151
    Yes I am addicted to sugar and I am still struggling to turn this around. I am in the cycle were I want something with lots of sugar and then this just makes me want more. I am try so hard but it is a huge struggle for me. - 5/5/2010   9:00:19 AM
  • RARA2256
    150
    For individuals using high blood pressure medication, Stevia can lower blood pressure, so make sure your blood pressure doesn't go too low if you use both. - 5/5/2010   8:14:45 AM
  • 149
    WOW. I actually have coffee with my sugar. It is definitely time to make a change. I have control of my sweet intake when it comes to food. I am out in left field when it comes to drinking sweet (sodas, fruit punch). Thanks for the eye opener. - 5/5/2010   8:13:06 AM
  • CHAOLIPEA
    148
    I hate to have to say this, but your article, though no doubt true and informative about the dangers of excess added sugar in our diets (contrary to the "low-fat" craze of the '80s and '90s), unfortunately isn't all that helpful to those of us who already figured that much out.

    The trouble, as you correctly suggest, is that for the most part we really don't have any way of knowing exactly how much "added sugar" (vs. "naturally occurring" sugar) we are actually ingesting, as that information is not generally disclosed on food labels.

    So, all this really tells me is the same old wisdom anyone would have instinctively said 50 years ago: avoid "sweets," meaning cakes, cookies, candy, ice cream and similar deserts and snacks, and soda pop, Kool-aid and similar sugar-filled soft drinks, in favor of fresh fruits and (100%) juices and other foods.

    The point is, we all keep reading article after article containing nothing other than age-old, re-hashed information which most of us instinctively know to begin with, precisely because we all keep secretly hoping that some "new study" will tell us that we actually can indulge at least some specific weakness of ours, so long as we "do X." Unfortunately, deep down we all know that it doesn't work that way - if it did, most of us would not be reading these articles or posts, because we would no longer have any problem.

    So, I would posit that it would be far more helpful to most of us if you published articles focusing on how to reduce our sugar or fat intake, etc. without feeling deprived. Personally, I find that I have a much harder time cutting sugar and similar carbs out of my diet than fat - so I'm basically looking for tips on how to do so without suffering for it. Basically speaking, what that translates into is:

    1. How to avoid taste cravings;
    2. How not to wind up feeling hungry; and
    3. How to avoid feeling lethargic, lacking in energy and unmotivated.

    I believe we all know too well the significance of the above three points as well: namely, that they lead us to eat more - both in terms of amounts and in terms of calories - in an effort to compensate.

    I would also appreciate more information on the effects (and efficacy) of substituting artificial sweeteners for sugar, as I did so several years ago (in the form of substituting "diet" beverages for regular ones) and, despite the calorie savings, not only have not lost weight - in fact, I've SINCE GAINED WEIGHT AND HAVE FOUND IT VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO TAKE IT EVEN SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF IT OFF.

    Frankly, I'm beginning to think that I just wind up eating more - especially in the form of desert foods - to compensate. And, since the desert foods also tend to be high in fat content, they pack on far more calories - EVEN IN SMALL AMOUNTS - than the pint or os of sugary drinks I used to consume. - 5/4/2010   11:35:12 PM
  • 147
    I just finished the lab that originally led me to SparkPeople: I had to log my suger, sat fat, poly and mono unsat fat, cholesterol, and sodium for five days. Then we had to look up answers on the effects of these chemicals. I did the logging back in Febuary, but just finished up the answers about 2 hours ago! One of the questions was about suger leading to heart disease. Well, I lost the report already (stupid computer), but I'll let you know what my reasearch says once I find it again! Email me if you're interested.

    I too am a MAJOR suger addict, starting with white carbs and binging on cake and icecream when we had it at birthdays during childhood. Now I grab donuts and starbucks bottles when I'm stressed (especially this last week of the semester) I don't drink soda, never have much before and gave it up for good on the First of the Year. My theory is: Back to Basics. Organic fruits and veggies, whole grains, and as little processing as possible. Other than that, moderation! Not strict, and not habit, not starving and not binging. A steak here, a cake slice there, with some time inbetween, and not over your limit of calories, fat, or carbs! Good luck everybody! - 5/4/2010   11:21:51 PM
  • NYLAURA1
    146
    thanks for this post. It helped me not suck down the undissolved sugar on the bottom of my coffee! - 5/4/2010   10:21:26 PM
  • 145
    Good article - and for me very timely. I love to bake and taste the things I make. Also like to dip chocolate candies if I have the audience to eat them. But I have found I can stop the sweets "cold turkey" and get along just fine.
    Dried apricots are great for an after dinner sweet. - 5/4/2010   6:45:12 PM
  • CAROLLIZC
    144
    I try to watch everything I eat. Drives my roommate crazy. I'm diabetic, and glucose intolerant as well, and she's said she'd shoot herself if ever she had to eat the way I eat. That being said, I do have a chocolate habit. It's controlled, though. I allow myself two small squares from a chocolate bar a day. That's enough to quash the cravings, but doesn't trigger a binge. I keep it in the fridge, and I take out those two squares and put the rest back. That way, it's going to last much longer, too. There's no feeling of "I can't have it" because I can. I choose to limit what I have. I haven't had sugar in my tea since I was sixteen, and I'm fifty-two now. Baked goods could be my downfall, but I'm disciplined there, too: the cookies are in the freezer, so if I want one, I have to dig them out and warm one in the microwave. I make sure they're pretty much buried, too, so that if I'm getting one out, I *really* want it. I go for low sugar, high fibre cereals, too, and bake with whole grains whenever it's possible. - 5/4/2010   5:45:03 PM
  • UXORDEPP
    143
    Just wondering why they mention high-fructose corn syrup, but not regular corn syrup. They're not the same thing are they? - 5/4/2010   5:23:34 PM
  • TIGER5413
    142
    I looooovvvvvveee sugar. When I feel down sugar makes me feel happier. When I'm happy and have sugar, it makes me feel satisfied. I wonder if it makes me feel depressed overall though?! How true is this? I definetally need to cut back. - 5/4/2010   4:40:32 PM
  • 141
    Having been on Spark, I've come to the conclusion that the 3 things I need most for a complete diet are: Protien. Healthy Fats. Complex Carbs. And water. Nothing else required. Works for me. Of course, I did have to do a 'clean sweep' of my kitchen and give away a lot of food that did not fit into the above 'tri-fecta'. Blessings and eat what your body needs......... - 5/4/2010   4:15:08 PM
  • 140
    I am so glad I received this article today. I am going off of sugar and white flour today and needed the encouragement. I am working today and tomorrow at Harry and David and they leave bowls of truffles, baklava and cookies for us to munch on. Sugar makes me depressed and I feel every ache in my body when I am consuming sugar in my diet. It puts the weight on fast too. It is hard to stay off of it, I seem to be able to for about 3 months and I lose weight and then I take one bite and I am a gunner. But I so needed this today. Thanks! - 5/4/2010   2:43:42 PM
  • 139
    I try to eat as little as possible, but am not as conscience of it as I should be. I do not consume it in drinks. So that helps! But I love my chocolate. I drink water mostly and try to cut it out in my foods. - 5/4/2010   2:03:15 PM
  • OCEANARTIST
    138
    I am wondering about Spenda or other sugar substitutes...seems there is quite a controversy over them. I was forced to cut out all sugars in the year 2001 due to long term high dose antibiotic treatment for late stage lyme disease that lasted 3.5 years..to add sugar to that would have made the yeast infections worse than they already were. I started to use Splenda then, found ways to cook with it for my family and self; but recently have been concerned over 'reports' of its activation in Type 2 Diabetes?? and I have no idea about heart disease...Does anyone know about this...can SPARK clear up this controversy???

    I never went back to sugar after treatment was over, but I do use Splenda daily...and what is excess with a sugar substitute???? 6 tsp..16???just very curious - 5/4/2010   1:28:26 PM
  • 137
    I do not use much sugar. What I do get is in food that is already prepared. - 5/4/2010   1:22:04 PM
  • BRENNA_A
    136
    how come you guys aren't mentioning stevia - its all natural and it doesn't effect your blood sugar? - 5/4/2010   1:12:45 PM
  • 135
    Thank you very much for a well written article. I had not realized there was a connection between sugar intake and heart health; now I will watch my sugar intake more carefully. - 5/4/2010   1:06:09 PM
  • 134
    I grew up in a home that didn't have much sugar in the diet. Bottom line, we couldn't afford it. Kool-Aid was made with 1/4 the recommended amount, fruit was canned with only enough sugar to prevent it from turning brown and even baked goods had less sugar than recipes called for. I've never really had a sweet tooth. However, I love homemade bread - especially white - and dark chocolate. I also crave other sugars at times and like I did as a child, I watch how much I take in. My real strong cravings though have always been salt, which I'll choose any day over sugar. I also choose sour over sugar, as I love my lemon juice in water without any sweetner added. My one sweet spot is honey. I do love my honey. - 5/4/2010   12:31:45 PM
  • ITSTHESANDWOMAN
    133
    Yes sugar is very addictive...I drink anywhere from 2 to 4 cups of coffee and I like to dump at least two teaspoons into my morning coffee - and these teaspoons are more like heapings! So I probably take in at least 8 to 16 teaspoons. I was using low calorie sweetners but the craving for sugar became too strong. I guess the next thing to omit is coffee? another addiction.
    But yes I remember I cut off sugar in my coffee for three months and used sweetners during that time, and I also walked for one hour at least three times a week...I lost about 5 lbs just doing that, so yes I need to cut down on sugars and sweets. I am not a big fan of candy, chocolate bars or carbonated drinks but crave for salty chips once in awhile.
    This article was a good review of how much sugar is lurking around/inside our foods, thanks for the article. - 5/4/2010   12:17:38 PM
  • 132
    I am a sugar addict who loves to bake. Talk about a double whammy! I've discovered the cold turkey is best, although I have been indulging over the past month and the scale shows it. I'm certain I take in too much sugar-- might have to detox on that one for a few days and then just stay off. - 5/4/2010   11:51:00 AM
  • 131
    I use raw sugar two times if I every use it: on plain oatmeal and in Arabica coffee. But I really appreciate the article to help me avoid treats that have sugar! - 5/4/2010   11:23:09 AM
  • 130
    I am addicted to sweets and trying to break the habit. I'm my own worst enemy. I eat cookies, donuts, candy at work when it is available. As a nurse we always get goodies from patients, reps and nurses. If I don't have it around I don't go bye it although I miss it. So my challenge is at work when it is available and I am stressed from my job or not. Any suggestions from other SP appreciated. This week has been easy because I'm on vacation and haven't exposed myself to sweets. - 5/4/2010   11:14:14 AM
  • 129
    I have recently "kicked" my sugar habit and have been on a "sugar fast"....I was the type of person that always wanted to "top off my meal" with something sweet. It might just be a small bite of chocolate, or a low fat ice cream treat, but invaribly it seemed to set me up for the rest of the day...craving more sweet! I have been off sugar for 17 days now and feel so much better! In those 17 days, although I did have one slip when I ate a small DQ ice cream cone, I have realized that I can survive without chocolate!! I have thrown out my Over the Moon Chocolate Milk that I used to drink all the time, because the second ingredient is sugar!! Although I have a healthy perspective on things and not a "diet mindset" - I will probably make it my goal to do better in the future with limiting my sugar, but if I really want a piece of cheesecake, I won't deprive myself, I will just exercise moderation. A future without any cakes, cookies or pies would be a dismal future indeed! LOL - 5/4/2010   10:41:54 AM
  • TANYAASH
    128
    I pack my kids lunches with only healthy foods and money for milk. I watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and saw the flavored milks being offered to students. I asked my son if he was getting flavored milk and he said yes - strawberry! I got him a thermos and blend strawberries with skim milk in the blender each morning. He loves it! - 5/4/2010   10:04:28 AM
  • 127
    I was also interested to hear of the correlation between sugar consumption and heart disease. That is significant to me as people in my family are not typically very overweight, if at all, but we do have a history of heart disease. And we all like sugar! When I was in basic training for the Air Force years ago, I was the healthiest I'd ever been because we couldn't snack and we drank a ton of water (not to mention marching everywhere). I've never been ablet to duplicate that kind of lifestyle ever since then. Wish I could! Fear was definitely a motivator then, though! - 5/4/2010   10:02:13 AM
  • LTLALECE
    126
    Taste is acquired and can be changed by good choices. I never had much of a sweet tooth as a child or teenager, but in my 20s I became good friends with someone who always had dessert after every meal and had candy bowls in the living room. I developed a taste for sugar that has been very difficult to break. Now, I use Stevia and try to avoid "sweet" foods to re-educate my tastes and preferences. I've learned that if I wait 30 minutes and drink a glass of water, I'm better able to say no to dessert.
    - 5/4/2010   9:54:38 AM
  • SMCG21
    125
    I have had a serious sweet tooth since my teens (I'm 58) and eat sweets every day. But I do a few things to limit it--no sweetener at all in tea or morning coffee, water instead of any other drink, never drink soda. I also try to eat as much whole grain as possible--brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread, even make cookies etc with 100% whole wheat and reduce the amount of sugar called for in recipes. I have a rule to only have a sweet dessert once/day too. And I exercise a lot--bike to work, daily walk or jog, outdoor activities on weekends. So far so good in the cholesterol ratings--mine are good. - 5/4/2010   9:45:22 AM
  • 124
    I am definitely an overachiever in sugar consumption. The biggest stride I have made is reducing the amount of soda I drink. I'm still dumping the sugar into coffee and tea, but the total 'sugars' are far lower than soda. - 5/4/2010   9:32:26 AM
  • 123
    For a sweet treat try freezing grapes, sweet cherries, or blueberries. Spread them on a cookie sheet and freeze individually, then bag and store in the freezer. Eating a handful is better than indulging in ice cream, and kids really like these on a hot day. - 5/4/2010   9:05:08 AM
  • KISMET
    122
    I think it's a little extreme to say sugar is "bad" and "addictive", although like everyone else I have been known to pig out on sweet foods now and then. One key is "now and then". Cake is fine as a treat, but if you're giving yourself a treat every day it's a habit. Another key thing for me is to eat only foods that I recognize or know what went into them -- in other words, stay out of the heavily processed and packaged junk. For breakfast today I had fresh strawberries with a little sprinkle of the evil sugar, scrambled farmer's market eggs with a wee bit of real butter, and some organic chicken sausage. And I'm not off track for my day's calorie goal at all. Moderation is where it's at, I think when we try to deny ourselves all the tasty stuff and eat low-fat/low-sugar artificial substitutes is where we get off track. - 5/4/2010   9:03:43 AM
  • 121
    I've never had much of a sweet tooth but, since having my children, I seem to have developed a craving for something sweet. I find the best way to deal with it is to give in a little to avoid going overboard. So every day after lunch, I'll have a Hershey's Special Dark with Almonds miniature. The dark chocolate is so much more satisfying than milk chocolate, and I can savor each little bite. It's a relatively small concession and keeps me on the healthy eating train. - 5/4/2010   9:01:15 AM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

Sign up for a FREE SparkPeople account