Nutrition
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Four Reasons this Dietitian Isn’t Crazed About Sugar

It’s not that I don’t care about the amount of sugar in my own diet. It is that I rather trust my food choices and activity level to sort it out without obsessing about every seemingly “hidden” gram (it is hardly hidden – total grams is listed on the flip side of every package).  Sounds simple enough, but I get it can be kind of complex for the non-dietitian. I also get that we as a society like a to single out  dietary villains. It easier than looking at complex dietary interactions that vary uniquely among individuals.

While traveling for work I pulled out my sun butter and jelly sandwich only to be questioned about eating that much sugar  by my well-meaning non-dietitian co-worker (brave). I know very well jelly is sugar. That doesn’t mean I won’t eat it. In fact I love it especially in context of wheat bread and sun butter containing fiber, protein, whole grains and NO sugar. Jelly gives my sandwich and me good balance.

Here are four reasons sugar added to my food doesn’t concern me:

  1. I eat mostly fresh and unpackaged foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and local beef, poultry, and fish are the foundation of my diet. I eat them raw or cooked. I add oils and spices to make them super yum. I pepper my day with carefully selected packaged foods that meet both my nutritional and lifestyle needs.  When making nutritious choices on packaged foods I have little concern for total sugar and mostly look at the company the sugar is keeping like calories, total carb, fiber, protein, whole grains, vitamins, and healthy fat.
  2. My daily diet does not include sugar-sweetened drinks. Sugar-sweetened beverages are a major contributor of unconscious and empty calories that are easy to chug down if it is your daily choice of a thirst-quenching beverages. When I am thirsty I drink water, preferably the bubbly guzzle-able variety!
  3. Baked goods and dairy desserts don’t find their way in my menu daily. I love sweet breads, chocolate chip pancakes, and ice cream as much as the next person but they are far from an everyday occurrence. They are loaded with carbohydrate I can use when I am training for some crazy-long race and have higher carb needs but sadly as the mileage increase the appetite for these things decreases. Kind of like it did during pregnancy.
  4. I am active daily, if not athletic. Movement and activity are natural insulin for the body helping to clear sugar from the blood for use by the muscles. The more I move the greater my allowance for sugar is while still maintaining health. When you have a healthy amount of activity and eat within your calorie needs based on your activity sugar’s toll on your body becomes less of a concern than for someone who spends most the day sitting.

So there you have it. Drink water. Skip the bakery (most days). Eat fresh. Select lifestyle-fitting-packaged foods (for me they have to be nutritious). Move more. No sugar gram counting required.  Oh and plus…..life IS sweet we should embrace it.

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