Seasons Greeting: How and why to avoid sugar this holiday season

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 2:29 PM | by Carly Stunda

By Madeline Elkin, Health Educator and Outreach Specialist at Little Red Door, AmeriCorp Public Ally

We are in the midst of the holiday season, which for most of us means end-of-diet-season.  I will be the first to admit that I can’t wait for my mom’s pumpkin roll and mini cheesecakes this Christmas!

But, we all know excess sugar is bad for you. There is a lot of evidence that links sugar to health issues including diabetes and heart disease, but recently there have been scientific studies suggesting sugar can cause an increased risk for certain cancers as well. While these studies are new, there have been reports of increased risks for both endometrial and breast cancer in women, and colon cancer in men and women.

So, the main take away, which might not come as a surprise, is to limit sugar intake. But, how much is too much? Generally speaking, the average adult should keep their consumption of added sugar to less than 15% of their daily calories. In other words, aiming for less than 300 calories, or 18 teaspoons.

So, what should you limit or avoid? There is the obvious like desserts, candy and sugary drinks. But also, the less obvious which includes fruit juice, salad dressings, bread, low-fat yogurt and ketchup. To some people’s surprise, 80% of these products contain added sugar. For more information on the dangers of sugar check out these links: Is sugar really bad for you? and The Sweet Danger of Sugar.