Sugar challenge: Cut the sweetness for 2 weeksBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sugar-challenge/MY02414
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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April 10, 2013
Sugar challenge: Cut the sweetness for 2 weeks
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Soda is often blamed for many ills — weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. The argument between the beverage industry and the scientists is that there is no absolute proof — only a correlation — linking sugary drinks and these health problems. And then there's the question of what role diet soda plays in all of this. Why is it that people who drink diet soda also struggle with obesity, metabolic syndrome and other issues?
While those arguments and questions are sorted out, I'd like to offer a different question.
First, consider that a regular sugar-sweetened soft drink has 10 or more teaspoons of sugar. Artificial sweeteners are 100s to 1,000s of times sweeter than table sugar. That is a lot of sweetness. Compare that to an apple or orange. They're sweet but probably don't hit the "wow" level on your sweetness scale. Maybe you're thinking, "But I like a lot of sweetness."
Here is my question: Have your taste buds become so accustomed to super-sweet drinks that the natural sweetness in foods, such as fruits, pales in comparison? Want to find out?
I invite you to take this challenge: Ditch the added sugar and artificial sweeteners in your diet for two weeks. Think of it as a palate cleanse. For the next two weeks, choose foods that contain little or no added sugar or artificial sweetener. Here are the details:
- Choose foods that have 5 grams of sugar or less a serving. You can find this information on the Nutrition Facts label.
- Also limit natural sweeteners, such as agave, honey and molasses, to 5 grams or less a serving.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners as much as possible.
- Add fruits — fresh, frozen or dried — to foods to add flavor and nutrition. Fruits, vegetables and milk have natural sugars. For example, an 8-ounce container of yogurt has 12 grams of natural sugar (lactose). That's OK. To figure out how much added sugar a yogurt has, subtract 12 grams from the total grams of sugar listed on the Nutrition Facts label. What is left is the amount of added sugar.
After you're completed the challenge, please share your experiences. How did foods and beverages taste throughout the two weeks and after? Were you surprised to see what foods or beverages contained added sugars or artificial sweeteners? Surprised to see the amount of sugar that's added to foods and beverages? Any other interesting discoveries?
To your health,