Ads, Ads, Ads

Joyce Kavaras, RD, LD

Joyce Kavaras, RD, LD

November 23rd, 2012

Are you ready? Just when you’re relieved to be done with election ads, here come the holiday ones! Ads and displays for holiday-themed food and treats will be everywhere!

Our “obesogenic” society works against our better health judgment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, how can we cope? Let’s start with sugar; it’s everywhere, hijacking our natural sweet-taste threshold and flooding our brains with happy neurochemicals. What’s wrong with that, you say? Consuming these foods causes a rapid spike in blood sugar, and of course, the crash that follows. Then, guess what? You are looking for something to “pick” you up and, without even thinking, you’re back to the candy dish on your coworkers desk! And the cycle repeats. Now you feel crummy, your pants are tight AND you still have to deal with the stress of the day you were trying to ease in the first place!

At home, you’re looking for easy eats after work, so it’s hot dogs and canned baked beans for dinner. You feel okay about that because the buns are whole grain (or so the label says - more about that in another post!) and the beans are healthy, right? Not so fast. Read your label on those beans… some can have as much as 12 grams of added sugar in a ½ cup serving! To give you some perspective, the American Heart Association recommends we get no more than 6 (women) - 9 (men) teaspoons of added sugar per day – that figures to about 24-34 grams!

Those beans, at only a half cup per serving, provide about half the amount we should be consuming for the ENTIRE day! I call this some pretty clever thinking on the part of the food industry… slipping huge amounts of added sugar into everything from cereal bars (12-19 grams each), applesauce (22 grams/ single serve size), BBQ sauces (13 grams/ 2 Tbsp), spaghetti sauces (12 grams/ ½ cup). And, all those things in the middle aisles of the grocery store, pop (39 grams/can) included! Things like flavored yogurt cups (25-30 grams), instant oatmeal (12-16 grams), “fruit” drinks (25-36 grams/cup), and “healthy” cereals (17-22 grams/cup) are sources of stealth sugar as well.

The food industry clearly capitalizes on you following your natural tendency for sweet (and fatty and salty) foods – which, by the way, we are biologically hard-wired to seek - by loading their products with sweeteners. We become “used” to the sweet taste and desire more, purchase more, and line food companies pockets while lining our waistlines.

How do we get off this sappy sweet, UN-MERRY-go-round? Start by noticing how much sugar is in any packaged food you eat and compare it to the recommended 23-34 grams/day. Then stay tuned to my next blog about what steps to take next. By retraining your sweet tooth, you can cut down on the amount of holiday treats you will WANT to indulge in and have loose pants by January 2, rather than ones you can’t button… how “sweet” would that be?

More information on food and sweeteners:

Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts here.

Request an Appointment

Request an appointment with a specialist at University Hospitals.
1-866-UH4-CARE 1-866-844-2273 or use our Online Request Form

Upcoming Sessions of UH OptiWeight

There are no UH OptiWeight sessions at this time.

Need to Refer a Patient?

Click here for Patient Referrals

Browse Services A-Z

Maps and Directions

Click here for directions