This morning we were on our fave Fox News: Good Day Chicago and discussed the sugar traps that exist, in particular, with breakfast food choices. First things first, do you even know how much added sugar you should be having in a day? I find that most of my clients do not…that is, until they’ve met with me!
(For the segment, click here!)
If you are a healthy weight, your sugar intake should be roughly 5% of your caloric intake, which comes out to about 25 grams per day. That is just 6 teaspoons. For some perspective, a can of regular soda has a whopping 40 grams of sugar! I typically err on the lower side and say women should stick with around 20 grams of added sugar per day and men around 30-35 grams of added sugar per day.
Added sugar means from direct sugar sources. I.E. a natural form of sugar is from a fresh piece of fruit, but not from a piece of “strawberry” cake. Things may not be derived from sugar, but wind up being digested as a sugar in your body, like white flour products and lactose.
Breakfast happens to be the BIGGEST challenge when it comes to watching your sugar. Cereals, bars, yogurt, smoothies, and waffles are loaded with added sugar and the toppings can be dangerous!
The Problem: fruit on the bottom, fruit in the middle, fruit everywhere. But, is it pure fruit? 99% of the time, no. It can be in heavy syrup or loaded with added sugar. Some yogurts with fruit mixed in have 28 or more grams of sugar! That is almost as much as a can of regular soda. Everyone always says…but, I thought yogurt was supposed to be healthy? It is! You just need to shop consciously for a better format.
The Solution: We are in LOVE with Wallaby organic Greek yogurts. Not only do you avoid the standard “bitter” taste of strong Greek yogurt, you get a supremely rich, creamy, and trusted product. I use the Whole Milk Greek Yogurt in my daily routine, but if you prescribe to a particular diet where you need to watch the fat, opt for their nonfat version. My favorite thing about them (aside from their brand story which we will be introducing in another story,) is their process: Wallaby Organic Greek yogurts are authentically strained, rather than having added ingredients to thicken the yogurt. Their plain yogurts are clean and simple with Organic Cultured Pasteurized Milk as the only ingredient, along with Organic Cream in the Whole Milk variety.
Not only that, but Wallaby Organic Greek Plain yogurt has only 5-6 grams of sugar in a 1 cup serving (5 g in the nonfat and 6 g in the whole milk,) and this is exclusively from the naturally occurring lactose in the milk, rather than added sugar. Additionally, the mild flavor of their yogurts allows people to add simple ingredients like fresh fruit or nuts without having to also add agave or honey to cut the tanginess that other Greek yogurts have. Added bonus? Each 1 cup serving of Wallaby Organic Plain Greek yogurt accounts for 25% of your recommended calcium intake.
How to Eat: we make our yogurt in a parfait or bowl (4 oz. whole milk plain Greek yogurt, with 2 TB high fiber/low-sugar granola, 1 TB chia seeds, & 1/2 cup fresh organic berries- all layered)
The Problem: You may use your yogurt, as mentioned above, in a smoothie. Many people use milk or yogurt to thicken their smoothies along with fruits, oftentimes, multiple fruit servings. That adds up to a LOT of sugar from fruit and lactose, yes, but sugar none-the-less. A serving of fruit (1 small piece like a kiwi or roughly 1/2 a cup) has on average 1-3 grams of sugar. Having 1 cup of berries and a large banana brings your total up to over 20 grams of sugar.
The Solution/How to Eat: use less fruit in your smoothies and volumize it by having a vegetable present! We use naturally sweet spinach, one serving of a lower glycemic fruit (berries, peaches, apples, banana, etc,) and unflavored milk or yogurt in modest servings.
The Problem: These little buddies can be a real doozy! The kids cereals are what really baffle me, butI digress. Cereal is a BIG sugar trap, especially because you eat it with milk on top as well. Fruit Loops, for example, has 12 grams of sugar per serving and then when you add 1/2 cup of regular 2% milk, it doubles the sugar content. Ugh…
The Solution: Finding something high fiber that is touted as naturally sweetened (with fruit juice) tends to have less sugar. We brought in two of our faves that have 5 and 6 grams of sugar per serving, but more than 5 grams of fiber and a very natural take on ingredients. Then, we use an unflavored non-dairy milk (or for dairy-lovers, use less of an organic whole milk.)
The Problem: When I think waffles, I think white flour, dense syrup, and sometimes, super dessert-like toppings. This rings true for when you order them out or when you buy a frozen version. If you need to load that waffle with so much syrup, you might as well not have the waffle at all, then maybe this isn’t the wisest choice for you. But, a whole grain waffle made with health ingredients can taste fantastic without any majorly sugar-laden add-ons.
The Solution: we buy Van’s whole grain (gluten-free) waffles so you up the fiber content and lower the sugar content. Creating fun toppings is also a good go-to. Try a savory version with an egg and some cayenne pepper on top or a sweeter version with 1/2 cup fresh berries mushed up with some cinnamon and lemon juice squeezed on them.
and A fantastic way to stay within the sugar limit per day is to read labels. Check the grams of sugar per serving and to find out how many calories are coming from sugar in a food specifically, multiply the grams by 4. So if you had a food with 6 grams of sugar it would have 24 calories from sugar, but if you had a product with 20 grams of sugar (which is common for many flavored yogurts and milk products,) you would have 80 calories from sugar per serving! Let’s make this real: 1 cup of vanilla soy milk has on average of 10 grams of and 110 calories. That’s 40 calories out of 110 that is just sugar. That’s 36% of the energy (or calories) coming from just sugar!
Stick with products with 6 grams or less of sugar coming from sugar-based sources, buy all whole grain products (ditch the white flour,) buy unflavored dairy products (like milk, yogurt, et al,) stay away from sodas, watch what you put in your coffee and how you bake, and more.