Today’s tip is about one of the most insidious sources of empty calories in our diets every day: sugar. Paying attention to food labels and monitoring your food choices to exclude those with excessive added sugar will make a big dent in your daily caloric intake resulting in your calorie burning efforts at Koko being even more effective.
My question to you: Do you have any idea how much sugar (simple carbohydrate) you’re taking in on a daily basis? Most people don’t. Your first assignment is to start reading food labels to get an idea of the sugar content in the foods you eat on a regular basis.
“If you are concerned about your intake of sugar, make sure that added sugars are not listed as one of the first few ingredients. Other names for added sugars include: corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey, and maple syrup.” (source: FDA website).
A healthy diet should have about 45-65% of its calories in the form of carbohydrates (simple and complex sugars) with the remaining calories coming from fat and protein. Unless you are extremely active, your optimum carbohydrate intake should be toward the bottom edge of that range. This carbohydrate percentage is broken out further into simple vs complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrate intake, which is the category of sugar we are talking about today, should make up less than 25% of your overall caloric intake each day. More on simple and complex carbohydrate can be found here and here.
Read labels and you will be amazed at how much sugar is in products you think of as “healthy.” Start with your breakfast. You’ll quickly discover that with foods like cereal, juice and fruit flavored yogurt on the menu, it’s easy to reach your sugar limit for the day by breakfast. Remember sugar can “hide” under other names. Look for those words ending in “ose” as your eyes wander down the ingredient list.
One final thought. Every food choice counts. Start taking time to read food labels and simply choose foods with less added sugar. With very little effort you will lop some serious calories off the “intake” side of your equation. Combined with Koko, the result will be a fitter, trimmer you!
Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer