I’ve been writing COVID-19-related articles for the last few weeks, and I likely will continue to do so in the coming weeks.
I don’t write about weight loss, other than to say if you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more.
My focus is on healthy eating, and in this time of stay-at-home orders, we have a chance to eat well, or to eat poorly.
In my post a couple of weeks ago, I wrote:
My wife and I are eating more healthfully than we normally do – and we are already health-conscious eaters. I worry that people who don’t eat well are eating worse than they normally do. Please do not let that be you. Please use this time as an opportunity to make new positive habits. You may have already adopted new habits such as working at home, social distancing, and not going out other than for essential trips. Please use this time as an opportunity to make some positive eating and exercise habits.
I’ve written a few times about the importance of avoiding too much sugar.
For example, I often speak and write about the incredibly huge amount of sugar in soda. To calculate the amount of sugar in anything, look at the nutrition label and divide the number of grams of sugar by four. That will tell you how many teaspoons of sugar are in one serving of that item. There are 39 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce Coke. That’s nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar. And most people who drink soda, drink far more than 12 ounces.
Even if we stick with 12 ounces, think about how much 10 teaspoons of sugar is. If you are a coffee drinker, would you put 10 spoons of sugar in your coffee?
“Soda is poison,” I always say in my speeches.
At a recent speaking engagement, after I talked about the evils of sugar, a member of the audience said, “Don’t forget about serving size.” He was making an excellent point. I don’t forget about serving size when I look at food labels, but I haven’t written or spoken about it regularly.
One place where I have carefully looked at serving size is breakfast cereals.
A few years ago, I was on a mission to find a tasty, yet not-too-sugary granola. In the end, I moved to a Bob’s Red Mill Muesli, which satisfies my need for a bit of crunch in my yogurt, with no added sugar. (It does have some sugar from its raisins and dates.)
During my granola exploration, I often found myself enthused about the seemingly small amount of sugar in a given package, only to realize the amount of sugar listed corresponded to what I considered a very small serving size. For example, a cereal that lists 3g of added sugar, with a serving size of 1/3 of a cup, has more sugar than one that lists 4g of added sugar with a serving size of 1/2 a cup. (The former has 9g per cup, the latter has 8g.)
Another example is granola-type bars. For example, one I have had a few times, which I find very tasty, is Bobo’s Coconut Oat Bar. It shows 190 calories and 10 grams of sugar. But the serving size is 1/2 a bar. That means a full bar, which most people (myself included) would usually eat, contains 380 calories and 20 grams of sugar. That’s five teaspoons of sugar!
Eating well is important all the time, and likely even more important when there is a great chance our bodies may need to battle COVID-19. As I wrote before, I hope you will take this time to adopt some new, better eating habits – eat real food, minimize added sugar, and watch serving sizes.