Tag Archives: nutrition

Editor’s picks for 2013

2 Dec

banner_final2.jpgI know we still have a month left in 2013.

But with finals and holiday break coming up, I felt it would be appropriate to make a “Best of” post highlighting some of my favorite posts. Since a majority of the blog is written by me, I feel this aggregation serves as a reflection on the type of science writing I have done and the posts I enjoyed the most. But, I’ve also had some amazing guest bloggers this year and will also be including some of their posts as well. So check out the stories below in case you missed them! Thank you to all my loyal followers.

P.S. Once my thesis is over, expect big things!

Best of Layman’s Terms Media, 2013 (no particular order)

Breast cancer vaccines are nothing new: By Dorothy Hagmajer   “Am I going to die?”  That was Susan Foster’s first question when her doctor told her she had breast cancer.Continue reading

Science in the city: In the basement of the emergency medicine corridor of UF Health Jacksonville, Robert Wears, M.D., a professor in the department of emergency medicine, scans engineering books and medical journals, taking notes on his cluttered desk. He is carefully piecing together the historical puzzle of hospital safety.—> Continue reading

Eat, love and die. The short, but meaningful lives of love “bugs: Miss Plecia is all dolled up. She has been stuffing herself full of organic material and nectar in her swampy-syle pad for the past 20 days with hopes of finding her lifelong mate.—> Continue reading

What exactly is pus? Find out in 15 seconds.Wendy Corrales joins us this week to explain the gross, gooey liquid that plagues teenagers–pus!—-> Continue reading

What’s the deal with Dengue Fever? If you live in Florida, don’t ignore.As a Floridian I have somewhat become immune to the feel of a mosquito bite. The annoying quick itch sensation is quickly thwarted by the thoughtless reflex of my hand slapping the affected area and then quickly scratching up and down for a few seconds. After that, I pretty much forget about the bite.—> Continue reading

Scientist uses Instagram videos to explain anatomy concepts in 15 secondsI am always looking for people who share a passion for science and genuinely want to get others excited about it too, which is one of the main reasons I’m studying science communication. While I was in D.C. for the Science Online Climate Conference, I stayed with my friend Steph who introduced me to Wendy Corrales via Facebook. She showed me her videos and I was cracking up.—> Continue reading

UF researcher says T cells the answer to cancer vaccines: John “Bobby” Goulding, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine at the University of Florida, is in a scramble to help create safe and effective vaccines to prevent and fight human respiratory viruses.—>Continue reading

Rebecca Burton is the founder and editor of Layman's Terms Media. Started in 2011, this blog has been used to exercise Rebecca's love of science writing. These posts were selected based on how much was learned throughout the writing process, or the stories that were simply the most fun.

Rebecca Burton is the founder and editor of Layman’s Terms Media. Started in 2011, this blog has been used to exercise Rebecca’s love of science writing. These posts were selected based on how much was learned throughout the writing process, or the stories that were simply the most fun.

What’s for dinner? Island fish, brah: Study shows Hawaiian restaurant menus hold clues to reef healthMost of us look at menus simply to make a quick decision about what we are going to consume in the near future and at what price. We then give it back to our server and the menu is most likely forgotten. –> Continue reading

Abusive mothers’ DNA and the economy could share the blame with Florida DCF for recent child deaths: The Florida Department of Children and Families has been under fire for the past couple of years for failing to stop child abuse and neglect, resulting in thedeaths of seven childrenwho the department said were in “no immediate danger.” —> Continue reading

Wearing goggles to surf: Kook status or Florida Red Tide?: I took a deep breath in. Smelling the saltwater has always been my ritual before starting the process of unloading my surfboard. But, this time I did not feel refreshed or enlightened by the beach breeze. My eyes started to water.—> Continue reading

Native Florida wildlife caught on camera: By Michael Stone Wildlife photographer Michael Stone, a graduate student in science/health communications at the University of Florida, posts the different species and subspecies he sees in his online catalog.—> Continue reading

Great whites use stored liver oil to power through ocean “road trips”Bears, sea lions and whales rely on their external blubber to power through hibernations and migrations. For them, a little extra flab is crucial to their survival.—> Continue reading

 Sea turtles are Gulf travelers, scientists sayGulf Loggerheads were always thought to be homebodies. After the females nested, they would make a home at their local beach. They would never travel too far from familiarity.—> Continue reading

AAV: from ‘Almost A Virus’ to ‘An Awesome Virus’: In 1965, adeno-associated virus (AAV) was discovered while hitching a ride into the cell with adenovirus, which is a virus that causes the fretted pink eye, cold sores and sore throats.—> Continue reading

The Skinny on Good Fats and Bad Fats: How both will affect your health: By Megan Khan Karen Diet trends come in waves. One decade we see the rejection of carbohydrates, and we shun animal products the next. Some of you reading this right now may remember the low fat craze of the 90’s–it was then that fat got a bad rep. The reputation has stuck so much that “fat” is now considered an insult.—> Continue reading

Will tiny drones cure Floridians’ cynicism toward hurricanes? Most residents of Florida–a state constantly pummeled by tropical storms and hurricanes—have become overly cynical of the often hyped-up weather news warning that the latest tropical action in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean could be deadly. —> Continue reading

Croaking Cuban frogs Create Competition in South Florida: Southern Florida, particularly the more metropolitan areas such as Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are definitely not known for being quiet areas. The constant honking of horns, people yelling in multiple languages and bold headlines of bizarre news events make South Florida a melting pot of noise. —>Continue reading

Why Nemo would face an inevitable mid-life crisis: A finding Nemo 2 would not be Disney friendlyIf you’ve seen the movie Finding Nemo, and didn’t like it–shame on you! Pixar movies always have the right amount of humor, recognizable voices and great graphics that make them appealing to both children and adults. Their sequels are almost always just as profitable as the originals, and they’re ability to make animation seem like reality is superb! But, although I love this movie, there are serious factual flaws.—>Continue reading

Monkeys in Florida? iPhonatography from a jungle in Central FloridaAs I pondered ideas on what to do on Memorial Day Monday, I decided I needed to explore the land-locked area of Florida I often complain about, being a spoiled coastal girl who is accustomed to living near a beach. A friend mentioned a trip he took where he saw wild monkeys on an island in the middle of Silver River, near Silver Springs, Fla. After doing some preliminary research (mainly hear-say from Gainesville locals) I found out that  Silver River was the filming site the early Tarzan movies. Some of the monkeys escaped, bred and hence that is why there are wild monkeys in Florida.—> Continue reading

When did eating become so confusing? Tips to simplify your diet: By Megan Khan Karen There are hundreds of diets that are said to make you healthier than you have ever been, rejuvenate your body, avoid certain cancers, help you fit in your high school jeans and the list goes on. From the Atkins diet to the current “juicing” craze, we are fed heaps of “truths” about certain diets that are usually based on a tiny kernel of truth and a whole lot of anecdotal “evidence.”—> Continue reading

Warning: Smoothies can cause sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgiaIt’s that time of year again. Summer. Hot. Humid.The urge to swap that hot coffee for a refreshing smoothie may overcome you. But beware, drinking cold drinks can cause a condition called sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.—> Continue reading

What do hula-hoopers, big-wave surfers and composers have in common? A state of “flow”For those of you who do follow my blog, you may have realized I’m a pretty big hoop enthusiast, who also enjoys an everyday runner’s high. Although the physical benefits of running and spinning a circle on various parts of my body may seem obvious, it’s the mental state I’m in when I go on a 5-mile run, or do a freestyle hoop-dance to a 10-track playlist that brings me back after a long workday.—> Continue reading

Be swamp-conscious: Pet owners should be aware of deadly pathogen in Gainesville: By Jackson Presser Pythium insidiosum is common in stagnant, swampy water (lakes/ponds with water temperatures ranging from 68F-95F) worldwide, and the very type of water that is a staple of Gainesville and surrounding areas.  Pythiosis affects its host depending on how it is introduced. Dogs, horses, cattle and other mammals can be infected simply by wading or drinking water that has been tainted with the infection. —> Continue reading

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The Skinny on Good Fats and Bad Fats: How both will affect your health

25 Jun
Meg is epicurious and has a strong passion for cooking healthy meals on a budget. Her passion for food and nutrition stems from a young age with exposure to cuisine from various cultures. Originally from New York, she moved to Tallahassee, Florida to receive a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics at the Florida State University. Upon graduating, She took one step further to become a nutrition blogger in the dietetics field. She is currently a graduate student studying Clinical Nutrition at the Florida State University with the intent of becoming a Registered Dietitian post-grad. She believes that food has a unique ability to bond people from around the world, to create new relationships, and to cement old friendships. She aims to share her nutrition knowledge with others and to encourage healthy lifestyles through fitness and nutrition.

Meg is epicurious and has a strong passion for cooking healthy meals on a budget. Her passion for food and nutrition stems from a young age with exposure to cuisine from various cultures. Originally from New York, she moved to Tallahassee, Florida to receive a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics at the Florida State University. Upon graduating, She took one step further to become a nutrition blogger in the dietetics field. She is currently a graduate student studying Clinical Nutrition at the Florida State University with the intent of becoming a Registered Dietitian post-grad. She believes that food has a unique ability to bond people from around the world, to create new relationships, and to cement old friendships. She aims to share her nutrition knowledge with others and to encourage healthy lifestyles through fitness and nutrition.

Meg Khan-Karen is a guest blogger for Layman’s Terms Media. Periodically she will post thoughtful articles about leading a healthy lifestyle on a budget. Check out her Facebook page Daily Fit Dish by MegKKFit  for nutritious recipes at a reasonable price. Also follow her on Twitter.

By: Meg Khan-Karen, Nutrition blogger

Diet trends come in waves. One decade we see the rejection of carbohydrates, and we shun animal products the next. Some of you reading this right now may remember the low fat craze of the 90’s–it was then that fat got a bad rep. The reputation has stuck so much that “fat” is now considered an insult.

Well, I’m here to tell you that fat is not bad for you. In fact, it’s necessary for our health and our well-being!

Let’s start with the basics. We often refer to fat molecules as “triglycerides” because a fat molecule consists of a glycerol “backbone” with three fatty acid chains attached. The fatty acid chains that makes up this fat molecule can either be saturated (meaning it is fully surrounded by hydrogen atoms) or it can be unsaturated meaning there are double bonds between the carbons and it is not fully surrounded by hydrogen atoms.

Here’s an example of the structural difference between a saturated fatty acid and an unsaturated fatty acid:

Credit: faculty.clintoncc.suny.edu

Credit: faculty.clintoncc.suny.edu

 Your body needs these fats to function on a daily basis. Not only do we acquire fat in our diet from plant and animal sources but we also make our own. The importance of fat in the body includes different functions including aiding in vitamin A,D, E, and K, the fat soluble vitamins.

Fats also aid in maintaining healthy metabolism, building strong hair, nails and smooth skin and cushioning our organs.  And, of course fats act as a readily available source of energy –whether you’re going for a long run or pushing through your daily routine. Continue reading

When did eating become so confusing? Tips to simplify your diet

22 May
Meg is epicurious and has a strong passion for cooking healthy meals on a budget. Her passion for food and nutrition stems from a young age with exposure to cuisine from various cultures. Originally from New York, she moved to Tallahassee, Florida to receive a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics at the Florida State University. Upon graduating, She took one step further to become a nutrition blogger in the dietetics field. She is currently a graduate student studying Clinical Nutrition at the Florida State University with the intent of becoming a Registered Dietitian post-grad. She believes that food has a unique ability to bond people from around the world, to create new relationships, and to cement old friendships. She aims to share her nutrition knowledge with others and to encourage healthy lifestyles through fitness and nutrition.

Meg is an epicure who has a strong passion for cooking healthy meals on a budget. Her passion for food and nutrition stems from a young age with exposure to cuisine from various cultures. Originally from New York, she moved to Tallahassee, Florida to receive a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics at the Florida State University. Upon graduating, She took one step further to become a nutrition blogger in the dietetics field. She is currently a graduate student studying Clinical Nutrition at the Florida State University with the intent of becoming a Registered Dietitian post-grad. She believes that food has a unique ability to bond people from around the world, to create new relationships, and to cement old friendships. She aims to share her nutrition knowledge with others and to encourage healthy lifestyles through fitness and nutrition.

Meg Khan-Karen is a guest blogger for Layman’s Terms Media. Periodically she will post thoughtful articles about leading a healthy lifestyle on a budget. Check out her Facebook page Daily Fit Dish by MegKKFit  for nutritious recipes at a reasonable price. 

By: Meg Khan-Karen, Nutrition blogger

Eat Real Food: The Road to a Healthier You

There are hundreds of diets that are said to make you healthier than you have ever been, rejuvenate your body, avoid certain cancers, help you fit in your high school jeans and the list goes on. From the Atkins diet to the current “juicing” craze, we are fed heaps of “truths” about certain diets that are usually based on a tiny kernel of truth and a whole lot of anecdotal “evidence.”

So how do we know what nutrition advice to subscribe to and what will be most beneficial for our bodies?

Well, nutritionists and doctors have been supporting one simple doctrine for years. Though, in spite of the public’s hunt for what they believe is the secret key to being healthy and fit. We search far and wide for that special pill, the magic juice, the newest antidote to help us on our healthy journey, only to come full circle to what we have been taught from day one:  practice moderation and eat a variety of wholesome foods. Balance is the real key to living a healthy lifestyle.

Starting in childhood, we are bombarded with processed foods lining the aisles of our warehouse-sized grocery stores and clever marketing schemes aimed at specific groups. It’s no surprise we are confused about what to eat. According to Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., an independent research firm, the weight loss industry had revenues of $60.9 billion in 2010.1

So, we would rather purchase a bottle of fat burners than get some exercise each day. We seek out products promoted with empty promises of weight loss and a smaller waist line rather than make healthier choices in the market place and in our daily lives. We are fooling ourselves into thinking this is a way of getting healthy.

When did we become so confused about something so natural as eating food to become healthier? We no longer visit farmer’s markets and roadside stands with the fresh produce, let alone tend our own gardens with the freshest fruits and vegetables possible. Instead, we flock to processed products with mile-long ingredient lists making the product no longer identifiable as a real, wholesome food.

We are told that to lose weight we have to stay away from carbohydrates. To prevent cancer, we must juice every vegetable known to man and pop Vitamin C like its our job. And let us not forget, we must NEVER consume animal products ever again because our tens of thousand year old ancestors were nomads who rarely ate animal products and they never had health issues. Is this sounding a little familiar and hopefully very absurd? Continue reading

Feeling full: Three nutrition tips to keep you powering through your day

18 Apr
Meg is epicurious and has a strong passion for cooking healthy meals on a budget. Her passion for food and nutrition stems from a young age with exposure to cuisine from various cultures. Originally from New York, she moved to Tallahassee, Florida to receive a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics at the Florida State University. Upon graduating, She took one step further to become a nutrition blogger in the dietetics field. She is currently a graduate student studying Clinical Nutrition at the Florida State University with the intent of becoming a Registered Dietitian post-grad. She believes that food has a unique ability to bond people from around the world, to create new relationships, and to cement old friendships. She aims to share her nutrition knowledge with others and to encourage healthy lifestyles through fitness and nutrition.

Meg is an epicure who has a strong passion for cooking healthy meals on a budget. Her passion for food and nutrition stems from a young age with exposure to cuisine from various cultures. Originally from New York, she moved to Tallahassee, Florida to receive a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics at the Florida State University. Upon graduating, She took one step further to become a nutrition blogger in the dietetics field. She is currently a graduate student studying Clinical Nutrition at the Florida State University with the intent of becoming a Registered Dietitian post-grad. She believes that food has a unique ability to bond people from around the world, to create new relationships, and to cement old friendships. She aims to share her nutrition knowledge with others and to encourage healthy lifestyles through fitness and nutrition.

Meg Khan-Karen is a guest blogger for Layman’s Terms Media. Periodically she will post thoughtful articles about leading a healthy lifestyle on a budget. Check out her Facebook page Daily Fit Dish by MegKKFit  for nutritious recipes at a reasonable price. By: Meg Khan-Karen, Nutrition blogger

We’ve all been there — busy and tired:  running around, flitting from here to there, running errands and wishing there were more hours in the day. Maybe you are the student who speed walks across campus to get from class to class. Maybe you are the mother of two toddlers who is constantly straightening up the house and feeding all of the hungry mouths but your own.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to finish our tasks each day, let alone consume our meals. It is not a secret that many Americans turn to fast food or quick meal options when they are on the go. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, from 2007 to 2012 adults consumed an average of 11.3% of calories from fast food. While the amount of adults consuming fast food has decreased from 12.8% in the survey from 2003 to 2006, it still represents a significant portion of the US population.2  It is clear the American people are continuing to turn to fast food options rather than preparing wholesome, nutritious meals to keep them full and satisfied throughout the day.

It seems to have been drilled into our brains that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and this is for a good reason. One 2013 study from the University of Missouri’s Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology showed that eating a high protein breakfast versus skipping breakfast led to beneficial changes in  “appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals that control food intake regulation.”3 This could lead to a jumpstart in metabolism and energy throughout the day, not to mention a longer feeling of satiety.

But what components should comprise all of your daily meals in order to ensure that you keep this energy up? Well, here are my three nutrition tips to keep you powering through your busy day:

  1. 1. Load up on Fiber

By now, we’ve probably all heard that fiber keeps us full. ” This is one of the most important components in maintaining satiety and keeping your body healthy. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), “high fiber diets provide bulk, are more satiating, and have been linked to lower body weights.”1 A high fiber diet has not only the potential to decrease your waistline, but studies have also shown a marked decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease, a decrease in blood cholesterol, as well as a decreased risk of colorectal cancer. By adding fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, you can be sure that you are lowering your risk of diseases while offsetting those pesky hunger pangs. Grab a banana or some carrots to snack on during your trek to class, sprinkle some wholesome beans onto your salad, or consider switching to a whole grain bread instead of white bread for that added dose of fiber.

2. Stay lean with protein

Lean proteins such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, and nuts provide amino acids as the building blocks for the body, as well as crucial vitamins and minerals to aid in growth and cell repair .These proteins also keep our metabolism moving as we are constantly rebuilding our muscles and tissues, like skin. Grabbing a nonfat plain Greek yogurt with nuts and fresh berries or a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread is a great way to ensure the addition of lean protein into your diet.

3. Don’t Neglect Your Healthy Fats

Fats in our diet can lead to soft skin, better absorption of Vitamins A,D,E and K, more energy and a greater feeling of fullness throughout the day. However, there are two groups of fat that often get lumped into one group of overall ‘bad fats’- saturated and unsaturated fats.  While dietary cholesterol was once thought to increase blood cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease, studies have now found this is not so. Saturated fats as well as the now infamous “trans fat” are the true culprits behind increased blood cholesterol levels and blood lipids, an increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Limiting these fats in your diet will be beneficial for your health in more ways than one.  Compared with saturated fats, unsaturated fats like Omega-3 have been shown to be beneficial for your heart as well as your cholesterol and general health. In terms of satiety, a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that unsaturated fats increased satiety while saturated fats did not.4 Thus, incorporating healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats will not only keep you full but lead to heart health as well. Try snacking on a handful of almonds, replacing mayonnaise with avocado on your sandwich, or dressing your salad with olive oil and vinegar to keep you full throughout your day.

 __________

1.American   Dietetic Association. (2008). Position of the American Dietetic Association:   Health Implications of Dietary Fiber. Journal   of the American Dietetic Association ,   108, 1716-1731.

2. Fryar CD,   E. R. (n.d.). NCHS data brief, no   114. (M. N. Hyattsville, Producer) Retrieved from Caloric Intake from Fast   Foods Among Adults: United States, 2007-2010:   http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db114.htm

3. Leidy, H.,   Ortinau, L., Douglas, S., & Hoertel, H. (2013). Beneficial effects of a   higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals   controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese,   “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , 97 (4), 677-688.

4. Maljaars,   J., Romeyn, E. A., Haddeman, E., Peters, H. P., & Masclee, A. A. (2009).   Effect of fat saturation on satiety, hormone release, and food intake. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition   , 89 (4), 1019-1024.


Nutrition expert debunks sugar myths

1 Apr
Meg is epicurious and has a strong passion for cooking healthy meals on a budget. Her passion for food and nutrition stems from a young age with exposure to cuisine from various cultures. Originally from New York, she moved to Tallahassee, Florida to receive a bachelor's degree in Dietetics at the Florida State University. Upon graduating, She took one step further to become a nutrition expert in the dietetics field. She is currently a graduate student studying Clinical Nutrition at the Florida State University with the intent of becoming a Registered Dietitian post-grad. She believes that food has a unique ability to bond people from around the world, to create new relationships, and to cement old friendships. She aims to share her nutrition knowledge with others and to encourage healthy lifestyles through fitness and nutrition.

Meg is epicurious and has a strong passion for cooking healthy meals on a budget. Her passion for food and nutrition stems from a young age with exposure to cuisine from various cultures. Originally from New York, she moved to Tallahassee, Florida to receive a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics at the Florida State University. Upon graduating, She took one step further to become a nutrition expert in the dietetics field. She is currently a graduate student studying Clinical Nutrition at the Florida State University with the intent of becoming a Registered Dietitian post-grad. She believes that food has a unique ability to bond people from around the world, to create new relationships, and to cement old friendships. She aims to share her nutrition knowledge with others and to encourage healthy lifestyles through fitness and nutrition.

Meg Khan-Karen is a guest blogger for Layman’s Terms Media. Periodically she will post thoughtful articles about leading a healthy lifestyle on a budget. Check out her Facebook page Daily Fit Dish by MegKKFit for healthy recipes at a reasonable price.

By: Meg Khan-Karen, Nutrition expert

“Sugar is poison.” This has been engrained in our minds since childhood. As children, we were often told to avoid eating too much sugar because it would rot our teeth, make us hyper, give us nightmares—the list goes on. More and more, we are bombarded with new food products that are marketed as being all-natural or ‘healthy’. However, one look at the nutrition label and it becomes clear that this is not so.

 

These products are filled with added sugars and other nasty fillers that our body can do without. From a young age, we have been taught to believe that sugar is harmful for our bodies, but how much truth is there to this claim?

Allow me to debunk the ‘sugar-is-the-devil’ mayhem for you.

Sugars are the building blocks of carbohydrates, which your body needs in order to function on a daily basis.  Sugars are naturally found in foods such as fruits and dairy products. These types of sugars are called simple sugars. Other foods such as vegetables and grains contain complex carbohydrates, both of which your body can break down for readily available energy when needed.

 

These carbohydrates allow our brains to function at optimal capacity and provide us with the energy to fulfill daily tasks, whether it be studying for exams, running errands, or training for the local 5K. Sugars from fresh, whole foods keep us healthy and strong. Therefore, not all sugars are bad for you. Without these carbohydrates, we would feel lethargic and unable to function to our best ability.

 

Here is where the confusion about sugar arises. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has defined ‘added sugars’ as ingredients in processed and prepared foods (such as breads, cakes, soft drinks, jam, and ice cream) and sugars eaten separately or added to foods at the table.1 These types of sugars come from either fruits or vegetables, but have been processed into a product that is unrecognizable as a whole food source. Such added sugars in our diets have been shown to account for the rise in obesity as well as a higher prevalence of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Reducing your daily intake of added sugars can lead to a decreased risk of acquiring such diseases as well as alleviating health problems such as inflammation, irritability, poor immune system and possibly even some types of cancers.

 

Today, a greater majority of Americans are consuming added sugars in the form of sugar-laden beverages like sodas or as hidden preservatives subtly placed into various packaged food products lining grocery store shelves. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the average American consumes 22.2 teaspoons of added sugar from table sugar or processed foods per day, which can amass to an extra 355 calories each day.2  This can lead to unfavorable changes in your waistline while also increasing your risk of obesity and acquiring other harmful diseases.

 

Currently, the American Heart Association suggests women should consume no more than 100 calories, or about 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day.  For men, the suggestion is 150 calories, or 9 teaspoons of sugar per day.

Consider this: One 12 oz. can of Coca Cola contains a whopping 39 grams of sugar, which is equal to 9.75 teaspoons. This is more than the American Heat Association’s suggestion for both women and men.

 

Eliminating added sugars from your diet may seem like a daunting task, as they are found in nearly every processed food product on the market. However, decreasing your consumption is the first step to building a healthier body and a brighter future.

 

Here are some tips to get you started in eliminating added sugars in your diet:

  • check nutrition label ingredient lists for words that end in ‘-ose’ such as maltose, sucrose, dextrose, and high fructose corn syrup as well as brown sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, malt syrup, pancake syrup, honey, fruit juice concentrates, and corn sweeteners, all of which are added sugars
  • avoid adding white sugar to your foods and beverages like coffee or tea.
  • stick with the whole fruit – instead of a glass of juice, grab an orange or an apple
  • look for “no sugar added” or “low sugar” options and if necessary, consider canned fruits packed in water
  • when baking, cut the sugar requirement in half or consider a replacement such as unsweetened applesauce or mashed fruit, such as a banana
  • check the labels of packaged products such as salad dressings, tomato sauces, cereals, yogurts, and of course treats and candies
  • consider natural, plant-based sweeteners such as Stevia or Agave syrup

References:

(1)   Johnson, R. K., & Yon, B. A. (2010). Weighing in on Added Sugars and Health. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 110(9), 1296.

(2)   Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009; 120:1011-20.

(3)   Harvard School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source. Sugary Drinks and Obesity Fact Sheet. Harvard School of Public Health. Retrieved March 28, 2013, from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sugary-drinks-fact-sheet/