I get a lot of clients who feel frustrated because they have hit a wall or plateaued with their weight loss. Many are convinced they eat well and exercise, so what gives? The answer I have is the S.A.D. or Standard American Diet. And sad it is. We are consuming a detrimental amount of saturated fats, processed foods, sodium and sugar- all which cause inflammation in the body, the pre-cursor to disease.
Sugar is one of the biggest problems we face today. This is because sugar is hidden in so many foods we eat every day. We don't even realize it! Foods like pasta sauces, salad dressings and ketchup for example, are packed with sugar.
Let's put this into perspective. Think of a single sugar cube, which has 4g of sugar. Here are some of our favorite foods and how much sugar is found in them.
- Ketchup: 1 Tablespoon has 4g of sugar, or 1 sugar cube
- Pasta Sauce: 1/2 cup has approximately 7g of sugar, or 1 1/2 sugar cubes
- Thousand Island Dressing: 2 Tablespoons has 5g of sugar or 1 1/4 sugar cubes
- 12oz Coke: Has 39g of sugar or almost 10 sugar cubes
- Vitamin Water: 1 bottle has 33g of sugar of 8 sugar cubes
- Clif Bar: Has 21g of sugar or 5 sugar cubes
- Frappuccino: 16oz has 47g of sugar or nearly 12 sugar cube
- Dinner roll: Has 4g of sugar, or 1 sugar cube
You get the idea. How many of these foods do you eat on a daily basis?
So how do we become more aware of our sugar intake? A general rule of thumb is that any food that comes in a box or container will most likely have high amounts of sodium and sugar. Stick to fresh foods as much as possible. Fresh veggies and lean protein are always best choices. And although fruit is good for us, it should be consumed in moderation. Most tropical fruits have very high sugar content such as mangoes and pineapples. Fruits that are lower in sugar are berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries), grapefruits and apples. If the food rots quickly and has a short shelf life, those are the foods that are 'live' and most nutritious.
If you have trouble with soda, you can start by diluting it with water and adding more water over time. Some people only drink half and throw the other half away. There are different ways to approach it, depending on the person.
The first step is to take a look at your daily habits and the types of foods you eat. If you find that you are eating many of the foods I listed above and more than 1 serving as listed (most people do!), then it's time to modify. Cut back in half. Have that food one less time a week. Every little step counts.
So take the pledge! Say no to sugar and yes to your health!