Now that you know why added sugar is bad for you, how to spot sugar on a food label, and you’ve cleaned out your kitchen, you are ready to begin tracking the amount of added sugar you consume daily. Today Andrea shares her tips on how best to keep track.
We would love to hear if you use any of Andrea’s journaling suggestions or tools! Please share and use the hashtag #BarbarasSugarReset.
~ The Barbara’s Team
Tracking your sugar intake is only one part of this puzzle, it is also important to read labels and avoid foods that contain preservatives (BHT is common in many conventional breakfast cereals), trans fats, and other chemical additives that can harm our health.
How To Track Your Sugar Intake
How much added sugar do you consume every day? Chances are you are eating more than the Government’s new daily guidelines of 50 grams (or 12.5 teaspoons) because there is a lot of hidden added sugar in processed and refined foods.
You can track your sugar intake in two basic ways: by keeping a daily diary or log of each food and beverage you consume and noting the amount of sugar in each, or by using one of several apps that are available to help you with this task, for example MyFitnessPal, EZ Sugar Tracker, OneSweetApp, and Fooducate.
Even if you are drawn to one of the apps because you think this approach will be easier than writing everything down, you should know that both methods will require you to keep track of everything you eat or drink (this may seem tedious at first, but according to Andrea, this is an important part of the process).
If you choose the paper-and-pen diary method, you can use a simple notebook and make three columns: date, food/beverage consumed (including amount), and amount of sugar. At the end of the day, you can add up the last column for your total daily consumption. You may also want to input your information on a spreadsheet on your computer or tablet.
In order to insert the proper figures into your diary, you will need to use two main resources: the Nutrition Facts panels on each of the processed foods or beverages you consume, and an alternative source for any whole, natural foods or beverages you consume.
On the Nutrition Facts panels, you will find the number of grams of sugar per serving under the heading “Total Carbohydrate.” Remember: this figure is the ‘per serving’ amount, so if you consume two servings, you will need to double the figure you put in your diary.
To get accurate information in the latter category, the most comprehensive resource is the US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. It provides nutrient information for more than 9,000 foods and beverages.
Another resource is the DietaryFiberFood.com website, which offers links to sugar content ranked from highest to lowest. The total number of items is about 850 and the information is based on the USDA National Nutrient Database.
There’s an App for That!
As I mentioned previously, there are also many apps available to help you track your sugar intake. If you choose to use an app, you should input each food and beverage item as soon as you consume them or else you may forget to do it later or have trouble remembering exactly how much you had. Alternatively, you could take notes on what you ate and drank and then input the information later. Some of the sugar intake apps on the market include MyFitnessPal, EZ Sugar Tracker, OneSweetApp, and Fooducate.
Each of these apps have their own individual features, including how many foods you can search for, whether they can track both natural and added sugars, how the information is displayed, and sharing features. Feel free to check out the reviews and test drive several before making a choice so you can decide which app is right for you.
Andrea Donsky, B. COMM, is an Author, Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N.), Editor-in-Chief, and Founder of NaturallySavvy.com. Her passion is to inspire people to make enlightened choices for healthy living. Andrea has combined her background and expertise as both a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and an entrepreneur to educate the public on living an organic and non-GMO lifestyle through the creation of her businesses, books, articles, videos, speeches, and media appearances.