How Much Sugar Should You Have in a Day? | Q+A

How Much Sugar Should You Have in a Day? | Q+A

How much sugar do you consume in a day?

Find out nutrition tips below about sugar intake and where to get the best sugars from.

 

Question:

What is the high and low for a healthy daily sugar consumption?

-Michael B.

 

 

Answer:

“Sugar” includes small carbohydrate compounds, both natural and added. Let’s start with natural…

Natural sugars such as fructose and lactose comprise 50-100% of the calories from fruit and non-fat milk and 25% calories from some vegetables, so they make up a small base portion of the diet. There are minimal sugars in protein sources (egg, meat, fish, poultry) and most unprocessed starches (e.g. rice, oats), while none in pure fats. Natural sugars are not restricted – there are healthy fruitarians – although I will say that traditional strained juices are not recommended, and only endurance/pro athletes can probably balance out their diet while still eating 5+ servings of fruit.

The word sugar written into a pile of white granulated sugar

Added sugars, either for flavor or structure, are what we are concerned with. Corn syrup, table sugar, beet or cane sugar, honey, molasses, agave syrup and concentrated fruit juice are from natural sources, but used as sweeteners in food products and recipes. There are many diets that may reflect the newest 2015 US Dietary Guidelines for sugar consumption, including vegetarian, Mediterranean, higher-protein/modest carbohydrate, and medically prescribed patterns. Each one can affect an energy balanced diet with no more than 10% of daily calories coming from added sugars. This would be the high that you refer to in your question.

The limit is not a free license to eat ‘clean’ for a week then splurge on a dessert buffet, sending your body into a blood sugar spike. We’re talking about daily balance. A teaspoon of jam on toast, a drizzle of caramel in coffee, a splash of honey mustard dressing on a salad, and a tablespoon of sweet Thai chili sauce on salmon could hit the 10% mark for added sugar in a smaller diet. The idea is to consume your needed amounts of healthy protein, carbohydrate and fats, then only add sugars to meet your remaining calorie goals if not already met.

On the low end, you can survive without any sugar whatsoever if you eat enough other carbohydrates, but you’d be missing all the benefits from fruits, milk products and several vegetables which would NOT be healthy. No added sugar is certainly possible, though! It just means avoiding most condiments (think ketchup, teriyaki, marinara, BBQ sauce, dressings), sport or soft drinks, and processed foods, while eating wholesome mostly home-prepared foods. The result would not necessarily be bland. For example, oatmeal could be sweetened with dried fruit and cinnamon, meats can be marinated in vinegar or dry-rubbed, plain yogurt can be jazzed up with berries and nuts, and pasta can be dressed with diced tomatoes, garlic and olive oil.

Let us know the successes you’ve had in reducing added sugars by commenting below!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

 

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How do I Incorporate Healthy Whole Grains into my Diet?

How do I Incorporate Healthy Whole Grains into my Diet?

Do you incorporate whole grains into your diet?

Try adding some healthy alternatives to grains in your eating habits, and get some ideas below!

 

Question:

Hi my name is Rita. So far I’ve lost about 30 lbs but I feel like it’s been luck. My goal is to lose just under 200 lbs total putting me around 150. I’m realistic I know it’s going to take a lot of time. The problem is I don’t want to just go on a diet, I want to change how I eat forever. I’ve pretty much been on a strict protein and veggies diet, but I keep hearing so much about whole grains. So my questions are how important are whole grains? And, how can I incorporate whole grains into my diet without adding a ton of carbs and sugar?

-Sharita B.

Answer:

I’m glad you’re responding to what you’ve heard about whole grains and are looking to round-out your diet. Grains are the seeds of grasses and have been consumed by populations across the globe for thousands of years.  The benefits from whole grains include gut health, stabilized blood sugar levels, increased satisfaction/reduced appetite, and grains contain several vitamins and minerals. Grains are an excellent source of manganese, a good source of magnesium and phosphorus, and many are good sources of iron, copper, thiamin (vitamin B1), and selenium. Others contain iron, niacin, and vitamin B6 in good quantities.

Sure, you could get those micro-nutrients from other food sources but would likely need to eat potatoes, fruit, taro and beans to get sufficient carbohydrates, as most people simply can’t eat enough vegetables to sustain themselves.

grain-1

Unlike fruit and many vegetables, one does not pick grains (also called kernels) off the plant and start chewing. First the protective husk must be removed, then the grains must be cooked, which reduces their phytic acid, protease inhibitor and lectin content… meaning you get less of those compounds, gain digestibility and absorb their nutrients better. So, what constitutes a whole grain? Whole grains contain all 3 edible parts (bran, endosperm and germ) of a kernel and include the following: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn (including popcorn), millet, oats, quinoa, rice, rye, sorghum, teff, triticale, wheat (including bulgur, cracked wheat and wheat berries).  That means eating them whole, not processed. So NO pastas, couscous, orzo, breads, rolls, tortillas, muffins, crackers, chips, etc. Sprouted whole grain breads contain enzymes and are devoid of refined grain flour, so perhaps you might include those.

To incorporate whole grains into your diet, consider a small hot bowl of steel cut oats or wheat Meat ragout with bell pepper and fried rice.berries at breakfast, sprinkling some quinoa on your salads, adding barley or rye into your mixed vegetables and soups, or use farrow as a side dish seasoned with garlic & herbs. Corn can be added to salsa. Grains like rice can replace pasta in some dishes, as with a ragout (pictured).  Don’t forget about munching on popcorn as a snack!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

 

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Should I Be Eating Breakfast in the Morning?

Should I Be Eating Breakfast in the Morning?

Should you eat breakfast every morning?

Eggs and a biscuit or cereal and yogurt? Find out what the best breakfast routine is for your specific needs.

 

Question:

I find it easier to meet my calorie goal if I skip breakfast. My research into whether breakfast is actually important or not has led me to a lot of articles about intermittent fasting – will it be good for my weight loss goals, or hinder me?  As a side note, when I tried frequent eating (3 small meals with 2 snacks) I gained 5 lbs in a couple weeks. “Stoking” my metabolism definitely did not work for me.   5’4″ 150 lbs aiming for 125 lbs

-Angela F.

 

 

Answer:

You can adjust the traditional timing of meals to suit your schedule and appetite while meeting a calorie goal. Research supporting the benefits of a balanced breakfast shows an overwhelming positive result for health and mental functioning.* Yet for weight loss, it depends on the rest of the day’s intake. Making up for lost calories by over-consuming later doesn’t decrease overall energy intake. Another consideration is that some people just don’t feel good eating after rising in the morning and need to wait a couple of hours.

Good Morning

That said, you specifically asked about intermittent fasting. Many people have found a benefit to intermittent fasting for weight control. As an alternative to continuous caloric restriction (dieting), intermittent fasting allows an individual to rotate between periods of fasting and non-fasting. While the overall effect may be an equal decrease in total energy consumption, intermittent fasting may have a stronger benefit toward health and longevity.  Yet for weight loss, the results are about the same.

Those who are not successful at dieting’s “moderation,” mild restriction, or reduced portions may fare better with an on-off eating style temporarily. Rebound over-eating later (as the body attempts to fill an energy deficit) is a common obstacle. That’s a major reason why cycles like these fail.  Weight loss is only successful if regular healthy meals and beverages are consumed on non-fasting days. Behavior change is critical to long-term success.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

You should always contact your primary care physician before beginning any diet or exercise program. If you have blood sugar problems, you should monitor your glucose closely and adjust your intake!  Your doctor may need to modify your medication as well.  Also to note:  if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, have chronic stress or cortisol dysregulation then you are better off avoiding fasting.

 

 

References

*The benefits of breakfast cereal consumption: a systematic review of the evidence base. Williams PG. Advances in Nutrition 2014 Sep 15;5(5):636S-673S.  doi: 10.3945/an.114.006247

The effect of breakfast composition and energy contribution on cognitive and academic performance: a systematic review. Edefonti V, et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2014 Aug;100(2):626-56.   doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.083683.

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How Can I Realistically Count Calories for Weight Loss?

How Can I Realistically Count Calories for Weight Loss?

Question:

How can I realistically count calories for weight loss?

Hello, My name is Ani, I am a member of L.A. Fitness. I’ve decided to lose weight, I need realistic guidelines from you.  I am 59 years old, Height 5′ 4″, Weight 139 lbs.  Goal: go down to 133 lbs by Dec. 27, 2016 Plan?  To lose 6 lbs in 3 months, how many calories may I ingest per day, and how many calories should I burn per day?  I have not counted calories before; would you have an easy way to count calories?

-Ani K.

 

 

Answer:

Ani, as you are not currently counting calories and do not know how much you are consuming, I would first suggest that you determine your current intake.  Use a diet analysis software with a broad range of foods (30K+) based on the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference* to average at least 3 typical days of your diet – everything you eat and drink, including condiments.

An estimated range of calorie needs to promote weight loss in females based on calculations using your age, height and weight is 1200 to 1600 calories per day.  The actual amount you need depends on your activity level and individual metabolism.  For effective weight loss, your intake should be about 500 calories less than your expenditures per day.  If you increase your activity by 200 calories and trim 300 calories off your intake daily, you’d create the desired 500 calorie deficit.

I wish there was an easy way to accurately count calories!  A simple bean and cheese burrito could be a 300 calorie frozen item or a whopping 800 calorie restaurant half-pounder.  If you could break combination foods down to their base components and approximate the portion of each, you can add up each ingredient using a diet analysis program based on the USDA Food Composition Database.  For example, doing so might provide this information: 10” flour tortilla (211 cals) + ¼ C shredded Colby Jack cheese (108 cals) + ½ C. refried beans in oil (182 cals) = 501 calories.

*as of the writing of this post, the newest version is Release 28.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

 

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How Can I Manage My Weight Effectively?

How Can I Manage My Weight Effectively?

 

Question:

Hello!  As I was working out I heard you were soliciting nutrition questions, so decided to throw one your way.  I have been trying to come up with a workable nutrition plan to complement my workout.  I lift weights several times a week and would like help calculating macros to help the muscle growth.

I weigh about 190-195 lbs, 6ft 2 in. tall. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Especially if you can convert the grams into portions of real food, e.g. 1 medium size fruit/potato, etc., 1 chicken breast/piece of fish, etc.

Sincerely, Alexander Gurfinkel.

 

 

Answer:

Depending on your age, you may need 2800-3000 calories for muscle growth.  Protein should be about 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, or 158 grams per day.

Here are the basics on protein content of foods:

Meats, Poultry & Fish- 21 grams per 3 ounces (size of a deck of cards, chicken thigh)

  • Jerky- 7 grams per large piece
  • Beans- 8 grams per ½ cup (size of tennis ball)
  • Hummus- 4-5 grams per ¼ cup (size of ½ tennis ball)
  • Nuts- 6-7 grams per ¼ cup (palmful)
  • Cow’s Milk- 8 grams per 8 fluid ounces (cup or 1/2 pint)
  • *soymilk about 6-8 grams; almond or rice milk 1 gram per cup
  • Greek Yogurt- 15 grams per 6 ounce container
  • Cheese- 6-8 grams per ounce (thick slice or string cheese)
  • Eggs- 7 grams each, 3 grams per white only
  • Oatmeal- 6 grams per cup cooked (size of baseball)
  • Starches- 3 grams per ounce (slice bread or 6” tortilla,½ cup cooked pasta/rice, or small 2”potato)
  • Cold cereal- varies based on density – read the labels to determine
  • Vegetables- 2-3 grams per ½ cup serving, 1 cup cooked, or 1 cup raw leafy greens Fruit  0-1 gram
  • pure Fats/Oils 0  grams *other condiments minimal

As I’ve no idea what your style of eating or food preparation is, I’ll give you a sample 3000 calorie day that provides 158 grams of protein using mixed dishes that don’t easily break down into the above separate portions.

  • 3-egg omelet with peppers, onion and tomato
  • Banana with tablespoon peanut butter
  • Chicken, rice and cheese burrito (restaurant size)
  • Small side of chili beans
  • Orange
  • Lasagna with meat (¼ casserole dish)
  • Bag of microwave popcorn
  • Small glass of nonfat milk

– Debbie J., MS, RD

 

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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