Sugarholics, beware

By TAMERA THOMAS Extension Agent for Home Economi Published:

OK, are there any sugarholics out there? If so, you have 10 seconds to repeat Hi, my name is ____________ and I am a sugarholic.

They can hardly resist a hot fudge cake, a brownie or a slice of pound cake. We like those goodies because of that white gold we know as sugar. I read that centuries ago sugar at one time was an ingredient afforded only by the rich because of scarceness and high cost.

Not so today. Consequently, we may not be aware of how much sugar we consume. Sugar is in more than just the confections we love; it is in catsup, crackers, bread, soups, cereals, peanut butter, meats and salad dressings. Even those who simply say they are not into sweets may put five teaspoons of sugar in their coffee.

Sugar is in our drinks too. Ive heard people say I dont drink soda; I drink juice. Juice is often high in sugar. Did you know that an 8 ounce box of juice contains 6 teaspoons of added sugar?

In addition, one cup of low fat chocolate milk contains 4 teaspoons of added sugar and a regular 12 oz. soft drink has about 10 teaspoons of sugar. You may want to take that information into consideration the next time youre purchasing beverages for yourself or family.

Read the labels and look out for ingredients like fructose, maltose, dextrose, sorbitol, brown sugar, corn syrup, corn sweetener and molasses all s-u-g-a-r. Moderation is always key.

Dr. Sandra Bastin, UK Food and Nutrition Specialist, provides additional information about too much sugar consumption and chronic disease.

Studies have shown that the amount of tooth decay is related to how much sugar is eaten. Either brush after meals and snacks, or rinse out your mouth with water.

Diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar. But sugary food can aggravate poor blood sugar control.

Obesity or overweight cannot be blamed on sugar alone: but is the result of too many calories. Thirty minutes of physical activity can help burn extra calories. Sweets should never be given as a reward.

High triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease. Restricting sugar is frequently part of the treatment for high triglycerides. Treatment also includes weight control, exercise, and fat and cholesterol-restriction.

Well, there is some good news for sugarholics. We do not have to avoid sugar or our sweets totally; just reduce the amount that we consume. We can eat smaller portions of a favorite dessert, or use artificially-sweetened gelatins or yogurt in moderation. Start today by making one of the following recipes.

Fruit Salad

1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 6-ounce can or cup apricot nectar

1 tablespoon honey

teaspoon vanilla

1 16-ounce can unpeeled apricot halves (water pack), drained

1 large apple, sliced (1 cup)

1 cup seedless grapes

Thaw frozen blueberries and drain, if using. Chill thawed blueberries until serving time. In a small bowl stir together apricot nectar, honey, and vanilla. In a large bowl combine apricots, apple, grapes, and fresh blueberries, if using. Pour honey mixture over fruit; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill up to 4 hours. Just before serving, stir in thawed frozen blueberries, if using. Serve on lettuce leaf. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: 88 calories, 1 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 0 g. fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 mg sodium, 270 mg. potassium.

Baked Apples (Microwave Version)

4 small apples, cored (about 4 ounces each)

cup snipped pitted whole dates or raisins

cup water

2 ounces cream cheese

teaspoon vanilla

3 to 4 teaspoons skim milk

Ground nutmeg or ground cinnamon

Cut off a strip of peel from the top of each apple. Arrange apples in a microwaveable 9-inch pie plate. Add water to pie plate. Cover with vented clear plastic wrap. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 3 to 7 minutes (7 to 10 minutes in a low-wattage oven) or until tender, rearranging once.

Meanwhile, for topping, stir together cheese and vanilla. Stir in enough skim milk to make a desired consistency. To serve, dollop apples with some of the topping. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: 139 calories, 2 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 11 mg cholesterol, 63 mg sodium, 239 mg potassium.

Sources: Sandra Bastin, Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

Washington State Dairy Council

Food Lovers Companion

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