Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
How Much Sugar Are You Consuming?
Many people enjoy having a sugary treat or beverage occasionally, but did you know that sugar is in almost every processed food item you consume? January 14-18 is National Sugar Awareness Week, a time to bring awareness to the sweet substance that we enjoy and the affects it has on the body.
Awareness is important because eating sugar in excess can be harmful in many ways. Extra sugar converts to fat, which can lead to inflammation. Chronic Inflammation is a key indicator of heart disease and other health conditions. Sugar also feeds stomach bacteria which can lead to other issues as well.
Think you know how much sugar you consume daily? You might be surprised to learn that added sugar can be in a variety of foods and beverages. A 12-ounce soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar and a 16-ounce sweet tea can have 12 teaspoons of added sugar or more! Some foods you wouldn’t suspect to have additional sugar, such as canned sauces and fat free items, have sugar added to increase flavor.
The American Dietary Guidelines recommend reducing sugar to no more than 6 tsp for women and 9 tsp for men per day. A good tip when watching your sugar intake is to read the ingredient list on the food label to find out how much sugar has been added to your favorite foods.
Melinda Smiley, Dietitian and VA MOVE! Program Coordinator, has some advice for Veterans with a sweet tooth.
“Consuming foods that are naturally sweet, like fruit, can satisfy your cravings in a healthy way,” said Smiley. “If you’re trying to improve your health or lose weight, the occasional indulgence may be fine. However, you must know yourself. If you find it difficult to stop eating sweets once you start, or if it becomes a large part of your everyday diet, it’s probably smart to steer clear.”
View Sugar Awareness Poster
To schedule an appointment with the MOVE! Program, please contact:
Muskogee: 888-397-8387, ext. 3214
Tulsa: 888-397-8387, ext. 2754