We are babes when it comes to knowing the amount of added sugar we consume. Last post pointed out how the “added sugars” found Stonyfield’s YoBaby and Yokids and how as our baby grew, the amount of sugar increased from 9 to 13 gms in 4 oz. Hey, but don’t most people assume that all yogurt is innocent and wholesome, so who’s even going to check the label and ingredients? Stonyfield’s must have our best interests at heart. But before you know it our sweetie-pie has turned into a sugar mama all through the careful addition of sugar in foods we thought were innocent. This hidden addition of sugar creates expectations for our mouth as well as inches around our waist. And it’s the inches around the waist that have skyrocketed the incidence of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Can’t we all begin to notice labels and slowly wean ourselves from the sugar tit in order to be healthier now and in the future?
How Much, Sugar Mama?
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommend that no more than 10% of our total daily calories come from added sugars. For daily calorie ranges between 1800-2400 that means keeping added sugars between 45-60 gms per day. Added sugars are sugars added to processed foods and drinks including the sugar we add to our own food. One teaspoon of sugar has 4 gms of sugar. A regular 12 ounce soda has about 40 gms. Sugar is even added to many foods that we wouldn’t consider, like pasta sauce, crackers and even waters.
Mama Loves Her Sugar
This Chobani Almond Coco Loco yogurt contains not just honey, but even a larger portion of sugar and evaporated cane juice amounting to a total of 21 gms of added sugar in this 5.3 oz serving. Since yogurt is made from milk, it does contain some sugar from the lactose naturally found in milk, but much more has been added to this one to make you go “loco” while your tongue dances with the sugar infusion.
And don’t think that vanilla yogurt is any better. It may not have exotic flavors or fruit, but it does have sugar enhanced flavoring. This 5.3 oz serving of Greek vanilla yogurt is still sweetened with evaporated cane juice to tantalize your tongue.
Wean Your Sugar Tit, Mama
If you compare the label of the plain Greek yogurt to the left to the others, you’ll see that this 8 oz serving (nearly 50% larger than the other two yogurts) contains no “added sugar” like the ones above. However, if you are used to eating Coco Loco-type yogurts and immediately try the plain yogurt you will most likely say “yuck”. Going cold turkey from intense sweetness to no sweet taste is a bit like trying to get Pavlov’s dog to stop drooling while constantly ringing the bell. There’s got to be a few steps in between before your mouth will settle down and come to appreciate alternative substitutions.
Use Nature’s Sweetener As An Alternative
Plain Greek yogurt does have a tart taste and takes some getting use to. I do prefer Greek yogurt because of all the extra “fullness-factor” protein found in it, but getting to like plain can be tough. I have to admit, I can’t eat it by itself. But I do have strategies to boost the flavor. I like to make a smoothie for breakfast and add kale, frozen berries, 1% milk, and flax-seed. It tastes sweet with all the fruit; and it has the protein, fiber and healthy fat to keep me full until lunch. If you really want a chocolate yogurt experience, you could start with the plain yogurt, add a tbsp of cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp of Truvia, a natural sugar substitute. You could also sweeten your own plain yogurt with frozen fruit and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. I also use plain yogurt in dips, baked goods and even in milk-based soups. It’s a way for me to boost protein content, get my calcium and boost my immune system through the healthy cultures found in yogurt.
I grew up with a sweet tooth. I can remember going to my local candy store and loading up on sour apple lolly pops, large sweet tarts and gum balls. As an informed label reader, I have become more aware of the hidden sugars in food. I still like my sugar, but I’m a smart Sugar Mama who controls the amount and type of sugar I put in my mouth. I put more emphasis on the natural sugar found in fruits and try to keep my added sugars to no more than 10% of my daily calories by avoiding foods with added sugar, making most things from scratch, in bulk and freezing, and keeping my real treats for the end of the day, and portion controlled. I’m not perfect, but I’m a smart Sugar Mama.
Barbara writes a biweekly blog to help inform and empower people to live healthy lives. Please “share” her articles and “like” her facebook page to help spread the word.