We’re consuming way more sugar than we think
The amount of added sugar that the average Canadian eats in a year – without realizing it. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends that sugar comprise only 10 per cent of an adult’s daily calories.
Each of us should be consuming only 48 grams – slightly more than a bag of Skittles – of added sugar per day, rather than the 100 grams (nearly 2 1/2 bags of Skittles) we currently ingest.
Stealthy sugar stowaways in snacks
These five convenience foods may appear to be healthier choices, but they often contain startlingly large amounts of the sweet stuff. Instead, consider homemade alternatives to cut back on sugar intake.
Cut back on sugar with smoothies
On average, a medium (16-ounce) store-bought smoothie can add between 30 and 80 grams of sugar to your day.
Make your own with non-fat milk, half a banana, frozen berries and a sprinkle of omega-3-rich flaxseeds, and add a drop of vanilla extract to bring out the natural sweetness of the milk.
Cut back on sugar with oatmeal
Flavoured oatmeal packets may seem like a healthy strategy for busy mornings, but they can contain as much as 12 grams of sugar per serving. (Heaping a tablespoon of brown sugar on top adds an extra 12 grams.)
Instead, take the 10 minutes required to cook your own quick oats and add a 1/4 cup (50 mL) diced apple and a dash of cinnamon.
Cut back on sugar with yogurt
A small (4-ounce) serving of fruit-flavoured yogurt can contain up to 13 grams of sugar. If you top it with 1/4 cup (50 mL) store-bought granola, you’re downing another six grams.
Reach for plain Greek yogurt and add your own fresh fruit and nuts. Greek yogurt offers more protein than the fruity varieties and only one-third of the sugar per 1/2 (100 ML) cup serving.
Cut back on sugar with salad dressing
Grabbing a salad for lunch may seem like a savvy dietary choice, but it’s important to know that some bottled dressings, such as French and raspberry vinaigrette, often have four or more grams of sugar per 2 tbsp (25 mL) serving.
Opt for a light drizzle of oil and vinegar on your salad instead.
Cut back on sugar with trail mix
Conventional wisdom suggests stashing trail mix in your car for a healthy snack on the go, but 1/4 cup (50 mL) of a commercial variety can contain 16 or more grams of sugar.
Make your own mix and go heavy on the protein-rich nuts and seeds and lighter on the dried fruit (and mix the chocolate chips altogether).
We’re still drinking too much liquid sugar
Good news: We’re drinking less pop than we were a decade ago. Bad news: We’ve replaced it with options like sports drinks and syrupy coffees, says Amanda Nash, a dietitian with the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Winnipeg.
A 2017 report from the University of Waterloo found sales of energy drinks increased by 638 per cent (!) in the past 12 years, while sales of specialty coffees increased by 579 per cent.
Energy drinks contain 84 grams of sugar, sports drinks contain about 40 grams, and your average flavoured latte comes in at around 36 grams.