Learning for Life: Beat the sugar bug

When my kids heard on the news that the new USDA dietary guidelines include a recommendation that Americans reduce sugar consumption to less than 10 percent of our calories, they groaned in dismay. I have long been harping on my family to limit their sugar, so I was thrilled to have science back me up! Shockingly, Americans consume an average of 150-170 pounds of sugar each year. That breaks down to 30-60 teaspoons every day. If you need 2,000 calories per day, 10 percent of your calories works out to 50 grams of sugar. Every 4 grams equals 1 teaspoon so that means the average person’s allotment of sugar is less than 10 teaspoons per day.

Common sugary culprits are sodas, energy drinks, sweetened coffees, and processed foods. Challenge yourself to start reading the nutrition facts labels and add up just how much sugar you’re really consuming. Try to gradually make improvements, such as 100 percent fruit juice instead of soda and fresh fruit in place of dessert. Your health is at stake, so beat that sugar bug!

Stop by our office at 43961 Kalifornsky Beach Road, Suite A, in Soldotna for a handout or visit www.choosemyplate.gov for more information.

Submitted by Amorette Payment, UAF Cooperative Extension Service, Nutrition Educator, Kenai Peninsula District.

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