Week 12 – The World of Sweeteners
Goal for the week:
- Instead of fruit drinks and punch, switch to 100% fruit juice and limit to 8-12 ounces per day
- Replace energy drinks with fresh fruit or dried fruit to supply your body with energy and other essential nutrients
- Use white milk or a lower sugar flavored milk beverage
- Replace sports drinks with water if exercising less than an hour
Sweeteners can be divided into two groups: nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners. The main difference between the two groups is that nutritive sweeteners provide calories, whereas nonnutritive sweeteners do not.
Most nutritive sweeteners, such as honey, sugar or high-fructose corn syrup provide calories and carbohydrates but very little nutrients. These types of sweeteners are referred to as added sugars. The problem with added sugars is that an excess leads to extra calories which translates to weight gain. Adults consume an average of 22 teaspoons of added sugar every day while teens consume even more, an average of 34 teaspoons a day. The American Heart Association recommends that adults consume between 6 and 9 teaspoons of added sugar each day and the range for teens is 5-8 teaspoons each day.
Energy and sports drinks could contain up to 13 teaspoons of sugar whereas a 20-ounce cola beverage could have as much as 17 teaspoons of sugar.
Where is all this added sugar coming from? Even though sugar is found in many foods, the largest source of added sugar comes from sweetened beverages such as sodas, sports and energy drinks, fruit drinks and punch, and flavored milk beverages. Just to give you an idea, energy and sports drinks could contain up to 13 teaspoons of sugar whereas a 20-ounce cola beverage could have as much as 17 teaspoons of sugar.
For more information on the different kinds of sweeteners, go to Shopping for Sweeteners
Director of Nutrition and Wellness