Tuesday, May 24, 2011


There are some ads that you see that don't require lots of words to tell their story.  New York City's health department has created a number of great ads that promote healthy eating.  This campaign has been targeted to deal with the high incidences of obesity and diabetes in its population.  The latest ad in its health campaign on sugar tells the picture and story about how a few sweetened drinks can add up to 93 packets of sugar by the end of the day.  That is almost 1,400 empty calories.  To put everything into perspective, for me to lose weight, I need to consume about 1,600 to 1,700 calories a day.

Sugar sweetened beverages

New York Department of Health

There are many other examples of sugar in our food.  For example the popular lemon flavoured iced tea.  A large drink has 210 calories and 14.5 teaspoons of sugar.  About 4 grams of sugar is equal to a teaspoon of sugar and 16 calories.  I like to drink almond milk and 1 cup of regular almond milk has 8 grams of sugar which is 2 teaspoons and 32 calories.  For those of you that like to add sweetened dry cranberries to your porridge or muffins, 1/3 cup of cranberries has 26 grams of sugar or over 6 teaspoons and 96 calories.

In Mark Bittman's book "Food Matters" he provides some succinct comments on sugar.  High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a manufactured sugar made from corn, has replaced cane sugar and beet sugar as the primary sweetener for many kinds of foods.  HFCS is cheap, easy to use and increases the shelf life of processed foods.   The US produces about 80 pounds a year per person of corn-based sugars (mostly HFCS).  In the US, the average person consumes one cup of sugar a day.  In other words 48 teaspoons a day of sugar.

You might think 48 teaspoons is a lot of sugar to consume in one day.  But if you think about a large drink of pop or flavoured ice tea which has 14.5 teaspoons of sugar, ice cream, sugar glazed donut, frosting on cake or cup cakes which is really just pure sugar, energy or meal replacement bars, some breakfast cereals, starbucks frappes, some fruit such as grapes, cherries and banana, fruit flavoured yogurts- it is not hard to consume that amount of sugar.    It would be an interesting exercise for anyone to track the amount of sugar they are consuming on a daily basis.

All this talk of sugar makes me want to have a square of dark 71% chocolate.  One small square of the chocolate bar I am looking at has 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 34 calories in a 6 gm piece of chocolate.

1 comment:

  1. It's not just the added calories, it's the sugar in the other food as well, fruit, etc. You can eat 1800 calories of food that will get stored as fat or eat 1800 calories of food that will get burned. It depends on the signals the food sends to the body. But dark chocolate is nummy.