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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Too Much Sugar - First Confession Of The Year

I'm going to start the New Year off with my first confession: I overdosed on sugar New Year's Eve.  We were invited to a party and I guess I took leave of my senses as I overindulged on the treats offered.  My friend had gone to a lot of trouble and everything looked and tasted so good.  I really don't know what got into me as I normally have better self control.  Just goes to show that we all blow it sometimes.

I had at least 4 cups of wassail, made with fruit juice and rum.  It was so yummy, warm and good.  Plenty of sugar there.  Then she had made beautiful squares of shortbread with a cream cheese and fruit topping.  Each was carefully decorated and no two were alike.  I had 4 of those.  Then there was the chocolate trifle with small chocolates and raspberries ringing the bowl.  I had a large serving of trifle and that was my downfall.  I did have several crackers with a smear of the snowman shaped cheese ball, not that that helped.  At any rate, I began to feel rather yucky, as we do when we've had too much sugar.  A lesson remembered.

I'm fine now but what if I consumed large amounts of sugar every day?  Do you know that the average American consumes 22 tsp. of sugar a day or around 75 pounds of sugar a year?  Pretty gross if you think about it, considering sugar is just empty calories with no nutritional value whatsoever.  The USDA recommends eating only 10 tsp. of sugar a day and since each tsp. contains 16 calories, that means you are eating 352 extra calories a day if you eat those 22 tsps.!

Some scientists refer to sugar as poison and they are deadly serious, no joking around.  The body metabolizes refined sugar differently than sugar that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables.  The liver is responsible for breaking down refined sugar and if you consume enough sugar quickly, the liver will convert it to fat.  While sugar does not directly cause diabetes, it does cause obesity which leads to diabetes.  It is also a major cause of tooth decay and causes your skin to wrinkle.

It is all too easy to eat too much sugar in America.  It is found in foods you wouldn't think contained sugar like tomato sauce and salad dressing.  A 16 ounce bottle of chocolate milk contains about 11 tsp. of sugar so you can consume more than your daily amount in just one food.

So what can you do?  First of all, watch what you are drinking.  Here is another great reason to give up sodas (even the diet drinks!) and other sugary drinks like sports drinks and coffee drinks.  Avoid products with high fructose corn syrup but watch for sugar in all it's forms like honey and brown sugar.  Read food labels for hidden sugars.  Take vitamins B1 and B6 and wear sunscreen to counteract the effects of sugar on your skin.  Also eat a fiber rich diet high in antioxidants.

I don't know about you but I am vain enough about my skin to try to avoid sugar so I won't look like an old hag.  I also don't want a Michelin tire man look nor do I want to deal with diabetes.  I think I can cut back on sugar!  I hope you will join me this year in an effort to eat less sugar and lead a healthier life.

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