How We Underestimate Sugar Intake and Day 4 of the Sugar Detox Learning Curve

no sugar

I got an email from my subscription to Prevention magazine and wanted to share these statistics with you. According to the magazine article, we underestimate how much sugar we actually consume by about 550 percent. WOW!

The research: More than 2,000 people surveyed were asked to guess the sugar content of soft drinks, fruit juice, and fruit smoothies. When it came to fruit juice and smoothies, the average respondent underestimated the drinks’ sugar content by 48%, the study data shows.

The biggest errors occurred when people guessed the amount of sugar in pomegranate juice: The average person estimated .5 teaspoons of sugar per 3.5 ounces. In reality, pomegranate juice packs nearly 1 teaspoon of sugar into every fluid ounce, the study authors say—meaning people miscalculated by 550%. Apple juice and soda have nearly identical sugar and calorie amounts—roughly 5.5 teaspoons per 8.5 ounces. And orange juice is similarly sugar-heavy, the study data shows.

What it means: “Sugar is sugar whether it comes in lumps or in fruit,” says study coauthor Naveed Sattar, PhD, a professor of metabolic medicine at University of Glasgow in the UK. He says it’s not that fruit juice is bad for you; the problem lies in how people consume fruit juice. While one whole orange contains about 45 calories, just 8.5 ounces of OJ packs in 120 calories. And while eating a whole orange involves chewing—an action that signals to your brain that you should feel full—swallowing liquid is so quick and effortless that your brain doesn’t realize your body is consuming lots of calories, Dr. Sattar adds. Roughly 25% of people’s calories come from fruit juice and sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, his study found. And because the number of calories you consume is arguably the greatest contributor to your body weight, cutting back on fruit juice can help you stay slim, Dr. Sattar says.

The bottom line: “You’ve really got to be a sugar detective when you are shopping: Read the label and watch out for words ending in ‘-ose‘,” says Anne Alexander, editorial director of Prevention and author of The Sugar Smart Diet. “And for foods like fruit juice, just use a splash to flavor seltzer water. Even better—enjoy the whole fruit!” Simply because it looks healthy doesn’t mean it isn’t making you fat, Dr. Sattar adds.

So you know that a few weeks ago, I started reading about sugar and how harmful sugar can be for health. And when I started paying attention, I mean really paying attention, I noticed how much sugar is added to our foods, to so many of our foods.

And then I started reading about the 21 Day Sugar Detox which doesn’t just recommend that you cut out processed foods and foods with added sugars. Instead, the Detox plan limits intake of a lot of natural carbohydrates, because the sugar content of those foods are so high that we should be eating those foods in moderation. This applies to starchy vegetables like potatoes, grains, and even fruits. Yeah, fruits!

So remember the saying An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But you can’t just eat all the apples you can find. The key is to know your limits and stick to them. I found the following limits for sugar consumption:

The American Heart Association recommends men limit added sugar to 36 grams, or 9 teaspoons, per day. Women should limit added sugar to 24 grams, or 6 teaspoons, each day

That said, today was a definite dip in the Sugar Detox Learning Curve. I started off great. I was running late for church so I heated up a vege burger patty and ate it with a slice of avocado.

Church was great but the walk to church was so cold that I started coughing again and I ate a lot of cough drops.

Then I stayed for lunch and ate rice and beans and had a small cup of fruit punch and even half a slice of cake. I told you, it is either HARD or IMPOSSIBLE to resist the desserts at church. Seventh-day Adventist women make the best cakes!

I heated up last night’s leftovers for dinner and drank more ginger and peppermint tea.

Day 4 was a definite challenge but I am committed to get back on track so tomorrow, I’ll try again. Because it’s not just about today, but the whole journey that counts. So if you’re on a plan, or have some long term goal and you’ve fallen behind, don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s never too late to start again.

Winter weather shows no sign of letting up. I want to get back to running outside but it’s been so cold/snowy/icy in the past month and I want to shake this cough for good so I’ve made an executive decision. No running outdoors until the weather improves and I am in peak condition, however long that takes.

I am starting a running group at my church and we have our first run planned tentatively for next Sunday morning. So I am hoping the weather gets better by then. Meanwhile, I am doing strength training and whatever cardio I can manage indoors and logging a bunch of zeroes in my training log. Ah, well. Warmer days are coming. They have to. Please God, #EndWinterNow!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jason says:

    This is interesting – thanks for the post!


    1. runwright says:

      And thanks for reading, Jason.


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