Where Sugar Hides in Your Diet

Where Sugar Hides in Your Diet

You may have a problem that many nurses struggle with: a ferocious sweet tooth. Here are some simple ways to cut sugar from your diet. You will see big health benefits—including weight loss—with fairly minimal effort.

We’re advised by the American Heart Association to limit added sugar: 6 teaspoons or less for women, and 9 teaspoons or less for men. Sadly, we consume way more – an average of 22 to 30 teaspoons a day.

See if you can find— and cut out—the sweet stuff in these ways daily:

What’s better than that first cup of coffee in the morning? Nothing can beat it, when it’s not heavily sweetened. If you normally use two sugar packets, scale back to one and save 3 grams of sugar.

You say Starbucks’ Grande Vanilla Latte is your eye-opener? Switching to plain coffee with one packet of sugar will save you a whopping 32 grams of sugar!

Instead of the sugar bomb cereal you’ve grown up with, sub a bowl of Cheerios for a savings of 13 grams (or more) of sugar. Dowse it with unsweetened soy milk and save another 6 grams over the sweet stuff.

At lunch, a small Greek yogurt seems like healthy choice. Not if it’s doused in honey. (Sugar is sugar, regardless of the type.) Go for plain yogurt and top it with fruit to save 13 grams.

A yummy bottled iced tea is less sweet than some soft drinks, but it’s still way more sugary than a brewed iced tea with one packet of sugar. Save 21 grams for a one-cup serving.

You had such a light lunch you’re tempted to treat yourself to a slice of cake. Skip it and you’ll save 37 grams of sugar.

After work there’s a get together with friends at a Mexican cantina. A Margarita sounds fine. But the sugary mix adds 22 grams of sugar, versus a beer, which has zero.

For dinner, spaghetti sauce from a jar is a quick choice. But for jarred sauces, sugar is often the one of the top ingredients after diced and pureed tomatoes. Make your own (sugarless) sauce and save 7 grams in a one-half cup serving.

Ah, time for dessert! Resist the pie ala mode and serve up a cup of cubed cantaloupe instead. This sweet fruit has 7 grams of sugar, but a serving of pie and ice cream has 39!

Jebra Turner is a freelance health writer living in Portland, Oregon. You can visit her at www.jebra.com.

Candy is Expandy: Cut Sugar Consumption

Candy is Expandy: Cut Sugar Consumption

Nurses have to be as careful as any other group about high sugar consumption. (Maybe even more so.) Recent research suggests that nurses as a group are more likely to be overweight than the general population. Sugar is certainly one culprit. Additionally, the occupational stress and crazy hours that nurses often endure make it especially hard for them to be sugar-savvy.

What are the factors that almost guarantee that a nurse will have to fight a raging sweet tooth? Most are emotional responses to stress and overwhelm. Try these reasons on for size:

“My stress level is through the roof some days – only chocolate will do.”

“Sugar helps me fight off fatigue from lack of sleep after 12-hour or night shifts.”

 “I can’t resist the candy, cookies and cakes brought in by staff and families.”

 “I feel I need – that I deserve! – sugary goodies when I work nonstop during a shift.”

“Sweets help me push down my not-so-sweet feelings of anger at work.”

Do are of those statements sound familiar? If so, first try to understand the emotional basis for your sugar cravings. You’ll be in a better position to make behavioral revisions that yield big results. It’s fairly easy to figure out simple ways to cut one cup of sugar a day from your diet, for example. (Just that habit fix alone will go a long way to making you healthier.)

You may think you don’t consume much sugar now, but you’d be surprised at how it hides in unexpected foods. (Don’t forget drinks, too – they’re a major source of sugar in the diet.) Check back tomorrow for strategies on how to reduce sugar (and calories!) form your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

The American poet Odgen Nash once wrote this ditty:
Candy/ Is dandy/ But liqueur/ Is quicker.

He later amended that sentiment to read:
Nothing makes me sicker/ Than liquer/ And candy/ Is too expandy.

Jebra Turner is a freelance health writer living in Portland, Oregon. You can visit her at www.jebra.com.




Candy is Dandy, But…

Candy is Dandy, But…

It’s that time of year again – Halloween, when most of kiddies (and many mommies and papas) will scarf down bags of candy. As a nurse, you want to make sure that this celebration, which opens the sweets-heavy holiday season — doesn’t bust your health goals, or those of your family.

You can’t get away from sweets today. According to the National Confectioner’s Association’s 2013 survey of 1,335 American adults, 74 percent of households will hand out Halloween candy to little trick or treaters this year.

Not surprisingly, 81 percent of parents cop to sneaking a few (or many!) treats from the Halloween candy their kids bring home. Moms are especially tempted to dip into the sweet stash.

Instead of sneaking candy, many parents enact a house rule that treats must be shared with all family members.

Or, parents buy their own favorite candies to hand out — but also frequently reach in and help themselves. One Snickers for the witch….one for me. One Almond Joy for the goblin…one for me. By the end of the night, that’s quite a lot of sugar and calories consumed!

Candy is a delicioius part of life, especially during childhood. Many kids regard Halloween as their favorite holiday — after all, it’s all about the sweets. Sugar leads to cavities, though, which is why pediatric dentist recommend that kids stay away from the gooey stuff — taffy, Tootsie Rolls, caramels and Jolly Ranchers, which adheres teeth. What’s better? Chocolate, such as Hershey’s Kisses, Miniatures, and M&M’s.

Some dentists will “buy back” candy from trick or treaters for $1 dollar a pound or so, to encourage patients to keep a handful of sweets and turn over the rest. (Some parents have instituted the same type of buy-back offer, switching candy for cool cash or coveted items, including toys, art supplies or clothing.)

Dentists also advise parents to limit their kids’ candy consumption to a few pieces a day, eaten after dinner but before tooth brushing.

Adults would be smart to do the same, in order to save their teeth — and their waistlines. Here are some candy options that clock in at about 50 to 100 calories:

15-25 small jelly beans = 60 calories

Fun-size candy bar = 80 calories

2 strings of licorice = 50 calories

3 pieces of hard candy = 60 calories

2 bite-size peanut butter cups = 90 calories

2 bite-size chocolates = 90 calories

Whatever your favorite sweet treat, enjoy it today! In moderation, of course.