Issue 41, October 2011
Welcome to Issue 41 of our Newsletter
I am sure I could not possibly pick a less popular time of year to talk about it. But Halloween is unfortunately just the beginning. In mid-October, many Americans kick-off a 10-week, holiday indulgence window where so many of us get derailed in our health journeys. It’s going to be everywhere. Offered with smiles and encouragement and perhaps even a big dose of If-You-Love-Me-You’ll-Eat-Another-One pushiness. Of course, I’m talking about sugar.
So before you pop another handful of candy corn at the office or sneak another Snickers “fun size” bar, take a minute to understand what sugar really does to our health. And just how much sneaks into our diet. My clients over the years agree on this entry in their Top 10 life-changing health habits list: reducing sugar and other sweeteners dramatically.
Woohoo – it’s done! I am very excited to share my completely redesigned website with you: www.eatonpurpose.com At long last, you have the ability to easily search our newsletter archives, articles, and recipes for information you need to support your health journey. I welcome your feedback as you explore.
Eat on purpose. Live on purpose. You CAN be truly well.
Syrupy-Sweet Sugar Seduction: Are you Falling for It?
How many pounds of added sugar and sweeteners do you think the average American consumes each year? Would you believe over 185 pounds? Yes, 185! That’s 35 of those hefty 5-lb bags…or about one of those bags every ten days. And I’m not including the natural sugars in whole foods like fruit. I know from experience that some of you are thinking, “Wow – that’s a lot, but certainly I don’t do that. You must be talking about someone else.”
To hit this average consumption rate, you need to eat 1 cup (that’s 48 teaspoons) of sugar (or similar sweetener like corn syrup) each day. The reality is that the average American accomplishes this simply in the beverages we choose (without regard to our love of cookies, candy, cakes, muffins, and pastries). A 20-oz bottle of Coke packs a whopping 16+ teaspoons. Mountain Dew is a little higher at 19 tsp.. If you are sugar-savvy, this might not surprise you. But did you know that supposedly healthier, flavored iced tea has the exact same amount of sugar per ounce as a soda? A grande-sized Cafe Mocha at Starbucks has 10+ tsp. A bottle of Snapple Lemonade has 14 tsp.. Vitamin Water has 8+ tsp.. How does your daily drink math stack up?
Now what about our food? If you add a blueberry muffin to your drink in the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through, that’s another 13+ tsp of sugar. A package of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups? Another 5 tsp.. A small cup of Breyer’s Black Cherry yogurt? Another 10 tsp.. Granola bars? 4 tsp.. A fun-size Three Musketeers bar (guaranteed your child gets at least one this year) has about 3 tsp. of sugar. So 5 fun-size bars have 15 tsp.. 10 fun-size bars have 30 tsp. of sugar. How many will you allow your child to gobble up in one night?
Food manufacturers load up the sugar in their products on purpose. It is not an accident. And they do it for one reason: it makes them a lot of money. They are well aware that our addiction to this powerful stimulant sells products. They count on our being easily duped by flashy advertising. They assume we eat mindlessly. Sugar-laden foods taste great, so we keep buying them. Sugar deadens our taste buds, so the more we eat, the more we want. Then it takes a major toll on our health.
The average daily intake may be 48 tsp, but you might be wondering just how bad that can be. Well, hold on to your hat: the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 tsp/day of added sugar for women and 9 tsp for men. The picture at right is one of my favorite seminar props. You’re looking at the amount of sweetener per bottle. At 16 tsps, that one soda is about 2-3 days worth of sugar by this yardstick. And that’s only in one drink! Yes, our current habit is a full 5 to 8 times what is recommended by a national medical organization that has historically been quite conservative about guidelines. And the reality is that you need exactly 0 tsp. per day for energy (yes, even if you are an avid athlete). Great for a treat here and there but completely unnecessary for our health.
Surprised to hear a heart-centered organization harping on sugar? Sugar and other refined sweeteners have been tied to a devastating array of chronic ailments and diseases. Think it’s just about weight gain? Not so. There’s also high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, hyperactivity, diabetes, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), heart disease, mood swings, migraines, arthritis, poor eyesight, depression, and impaired immune response. Our diet is often the reason we end up on medications. Refined sweeteners are highly acidic and inflammatory. Inflammation, among other things, makes our artery walls “sticky” so that otherwise innocent things like calcium, cholesterol, and fats are prone to building up and creating arterial plaque. Plaque causes blockages. Blockages cause a lot of heart attacks.
Our bodies simply have not evolved to be able to process these relatively modern, refined sweeteners. White sugar has only been around for a little over 300 years; that’s a fraction of a blip in human evolution. And what about the Three Musketeers bar? Invented a miniscule 77 years ago? I believe that the number one most important thing you can do to improve your diet and your health is to eat less sugar. You really can wean yourself off of it, slowly and surely. I’ve helped many people to do this successfully and to actually heal from related illness.
Because of our uncontrolled consumption of sugar and other refined carbohydrates, over half of Americans today are hypoglycemic. We crave sweets uncontrollably. We experience unexplained mood swings, anger, tiredness and major binges. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can reclaim your health. Start reading labels. Learn how much sugar is in your (and your family’s) daily diet. Then start making small, step-by-step changes to bring it down on purpose. If you need it, get some help. You can do it! Your health depends on it.
Any Halloween Tricks for all those Treats?
I got together with some local Moms this past weekend, and we are all dreading the onslaught of candy from Halloween. How do you deal with that? And I must say we were really curious about what you hand out to trick-of-treaters? Any healthy options that kids actually like?
Thank you so much,
I wrote an article in the October 2010 newsletter (The Candy Plan) that I think will give you some creative and fun ideas for what to do with all the Halloween booty. Congratulations on planning ahead of time; otherwise, you’ll likely end up with a multi-week streak of hyperactivity, sour moods, and malaise in your little ones. Obviously this is a choice – and not a default. Note that many dentists will actually reward kids with cash by the pound for leftover Halloween candy they turn in to their office. Yes, I do believe in trick-or-treating! Festive holidays are great fun. I personally plan to hand out mini Kind bars, a great lower-sugar blend of nuts and seeds with no additives or preservatives (also gluten- and dairy-free). Healthy enough to make a regular part of a child’s lunch. I also like handing out small pre-packaged bags of trail mix or small individual squares of dark chocolate.
No-Tricks Pumpkin Smoothie
A quick and delicious way to start your day with warm, autumn flavors.
- 1/2 can organic pumpkin – no sugar added) (or 1 cup cooked fresh pumpkin, well-drained)
- 1 cup coconut milk - or almond milk or rice milk (unsweetened in carton)
- 2 raw kale leaves (stripped of thick stems)
- 1 Tbsp almond butter
- 1-2 Tbsp no-additive protein powder*
- 1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- A few stevia drops (if needed for sweetness)
- ½ cup water (more or less to get desired consistency)
- Couple of ice cubes
Blend all ingredients very well on high-speed in a blender (at least 30 seconds). Note that many popular protein powders are very highly-processed, additive-laden foods. Be careful when making your choice. Make sure there are no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavorings. I recommend the sprouted brown rice protein at Whole Foods.
Fueling Kids for Success
Many thanks to Purpose fan Moira Keating for her work in bringing Tracy and a fun presentation on “Fueling Kids for Success: Beyond Mac’n'Cheese” to the entire 4th grade at Memorial School in Medway.
What Inspires Me, Issue 41
“I have eliminated refined sugar from my diet and eat as little as I possibly can. Because I believe ultimately it’s something I can do to decrease my risk of cancer.”
- Craig Thompson,
President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York