How much sugar is too much? You could argue that any added sugar is too much because our body does not need us to feed it sugar – it has no need of added sugar, and it gets no nutritional value from it. It does need sugar in the form of glucose, which it gets by converting some foods. Glucose is essential to feed our cells and thus our whole system. The glucose in our blood, which we call blood sugar, is distributed throughout our body to keep it functioning and healthy. How do we measure the amount of sugar we eat? The American Heart Association recommends added sugar should be no more than 5 percent of our daily calorie intake. The World Health Organisation advises a maximum of 10 per cent. But who is going to work that out? The best way I can put that in perspective is by putting it around the other way – 90 percent of our calorie intake should not be from added sugar. Which means we should not be eating a lot of it.
The trap here is, while we can control the amount of sugar per day we add to food, we cannot control the amount that food manufacturers are adding. This makes it hard to work out how much we are actually having. The only thing we can do is to use common sense and read the labels on food packaging, which are often not very clear. The main message is we should not eat a whole lot of sugar. The reason for this is, eating a lot of sugar has been linked to some of our major modern lifestyle diseases – heart disease, obesity and diabetes, to name three of the big ones. When I found out, many years ago, eating too much sugar was harmful I changed my eating habits. 1. I stopped putting sugar in my tea and coffee. This took a little while to get used to but now I have trouble drinking these with added sugar.
- Make a list of non-food based treats to reward your kids with
- 4 large egg white
- Greek yogurt
- Fruit section = 1/4 cup
- Vomiting that occurs three to four times per day or an inability to keep anything in the stomach
I do like cappuccino with chocolate on the top, but I do not add sugar. 2. I cut out eating breakfast cereal with added sugar – which applies to most popular brands. 3. As a family, we changed to raw sugar. There was no white sugar in the house. 4. My wife is a great cook and always had cake in the house and made delicious sweets – made on raw sugar. 5. I started reading the labels on food, which did not help much then because the information was pretty poor. However, some foods are obviously high in sugar, so I avoided those. 6. I did not have drinks with a high sugar content. We add sugar because we like it. Unlike most food, which we eat because we are hungry, we eat sugar simply for the pleasure it gives us. And we know it gives us a lift because it quickly converts to glucose and raises our blood sugar. Most of us are not going to give it up completely, but if we want to be healthy we do need to limit the amount of sugar per day we consume. Limiting your intake of sugar a day is an important step on your way to be healthy.
Replace a hot dog on a white bun, cheese crackers and a clementine with… Tuna salad on whole wheat bun with pea pods and a clementine. Since the WHO recommends eating processed meats sparingly, it’s best to save those hot dogs for the family barbecue! For an everyday lunch, swap tuna salad into the bun. You’ll cut back on sodium and add important omega-3 fatty acids for growing brains. A whole wheat bun brings fiber and B-vitamins to this meal, and fresh pea pods help meet your kids’ daily recommended amount of veggies. Replace peanut butter and jelly on white bread and pretzels with… Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread and baby carrots. This made-over meal serves up essential veggies, fruits and whole grains, and a lot less sodium than the original meal-with little to no extra prep time. Try it: boil one cup of whole wheat macaroni.
Just before draining, add ¾ cup of frozen mixed vegetables to the pot. Drain the pasta and veggies, return them to the pot, then add one cup of shredded cheese plus a splash of milk or cream. Stir until creamy, then serve, with grapes on the side. Don’t worry about protein: the cheese has plenty. Replace turkey and cheese wrap and fruit snacks with… Hummus and veggie wrap, and raisins. There’s nothing wrong with turkey and cheese, but here’s an easy option that makes veggies and legumes part of the main lunch, so your kids can learn that those important foods deserve a place in the spotlight! Spread a whole wheat tortilla with hummus, then sprinkle shredded carrots and chopped lettuce inside before rolling it up. Real dried fruit like raisins or apricots provide iron and fiber without the added sugars of packaged fruit snacks. Replace cheese and crackers, yogurt tube and veggie snacks with… Cheese and crackers, fresh berry yogurt, and green beans.
Serving plain yogurt and berries instead of a yogurt tube eliminates two teaspoons of sugar from your kids’ day. And swapping in green beans provides a vitamin-packed whole vegetable in place of the veggie snacks, which are mostly potato starch with a touch of spinach powder for color. There you have it! The takeaway message is simple: you can make big improvements to your kids’ lunchtime nutrition by adding fruits, vegetables and whole grains to their meals. Speaking of big improvements, here are our favorite tools for making fruits and veggies a priority in every lunch: the kid’s MyPlate and the Healthy Habits plate. We like to serve sandwiches in the grains AND protein compartments, because a sandwich usually includes both, and it’s fun to talk about why! And take it from us: if you ever forget to include a fruit or a veggie with your kids’ MyPlate lunch, don’t worry. Your kids will remind you.
Can coronary artery disease be prevented or avoided? Coronary artery disease can’t be completely prevented or avoided. Stop smoking. Nicotine raises your blood pressure, which contributes to coronary artery disease. Control your high blood pressure. Take your blood pressure medicine and follow a diet that helps lower your blood pressure. Eat healthy. Choose fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, and whole grains. Try to avoid processed foods, white flour, sugars, and high fructose corn syrup. The Mediterranean Diet is very good for heart health. If you have questions, talk to your doctor about how to make heart-healthy changes to your diet. Exercise. Regular exercise can make your heart stronger and reduce your risk of heart disease. Aspirin. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of daily low-dose aspirin. It helps reduce heart disease. However, it does have some health side effects. Vitamin supplements. A healthy diet will provide all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Foods that are rich in vitamin E and beta-carotene are healthy and help reduce cardiovascular risk. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommends against taking vitamin E or beta-carotene supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. There is no clear evidence that taking multivitamins offers additional protection. Diet and lifestyle changes will lower your risk of coronary artery disease. Your body will need time to respond to the changes you make. Your doctor will watch your progress. For example, if your cholesterol level hasn’t improved after you’ve made changes for a few months, your doctor may prescribe medicine to lower your cholesterol. You need to keep up the healthy lifestyle changes you started to help the medicine work.