As a mom of three kids, I’m super frustrated with how much sugar is in “healthy on the go” snacks for kids. It’s staggering. A typical “snack” provided after a hockey game or a soccer practice is something like a Gatorade (14 teaspoons of sugar) and Annie’s Organic Fruit Tape (3 teaspoons of sugar). This “snack” is almost 3 times the World Health Organization’s recommended daily “added sugar” intake. OMG.
Here are the facts: Americans top the world in sugar consumption at 82 grams per day, which is about 20 teaspoons per day of added sugar, not including fruit or juices. The World Health Organization recommends 25 grams of added sugar per day, which is about 6 teaspoons. People who consume 21% or more of their daily calories from sugar are two times as likely to have heart disease compared to those who consume 7% or less of their daily calories from added sugar.
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that provides calories for your body to use as energy. Sugar has no other nutritional value. Naturally occurring sugar is the sugar found in whole, unprocessed foods, such as milk, fruit, vegetables, and some grains. One of the most common natural sugars is fructose, which is found in fruit. Another common natural sugar is lactose, which is found in milk.
Added sugar is the sugar that is added to processed foods and drinks while they are being made. Food manufacturers may add both natural sugars (for example, fructose) and processed sugars (for example, high-fructose corn syrup) to processed foods and drinks. The sugar you add to your food at home is also added sugar. Added sugars in foods and drinks add calories that provide little or no nutritional value. These calories are sometimes called “empty calories.”
So what? Well … here is some food for thought:
- Sugar causes long-term fatigue. It causes a stress hormone to be released that decreases performance, and it lowers your ability to take in oxygen.
- Sugar disables your immune system. Your white blood cells are compromised and you get sick easier and don’t recover as fast.
- Sugar decreases the body’s production of leptin, which forces you to overeat, crave more sugar, and will eventually begin to throw off things like sleep, alertness, and decision-making ability under stress.
- Sugar increases oxidative stress in the body. This means you can’t recover and you will break down faster.
As with all things Fly Feet, Spring Training won’t just be what we’re doing in the studio. We always take a holistic approach to chasing fitness. With these 14 days we’re going to focus on getting right with sugar and if we can do that, we will experience greater gains from our hard work in the studio.