Healthy choice: Try eating more fresh fruit, raw vegetables, porridge and plain cereals. Try looking at the porridge label and you will be amazed. *Photo supplied
Healthy choice: Try eating more fresh fruit, raw vegetables, porridge and plain cereals. Try looking at the porridge label and you will be amazed. *Photo supplied

Debbie Jones is currently a vice president of the International Diabetes Federation and a diabetes nurse educator at the Bermuda Hospitals Board’s Diabetes Education Centre. She writes a monthly diabetes column for the Bermuda Sun to help educate people about one of the island’s biggest killers.


 

It’s March and it’s time to talk about sugar.

Not that we haven’t talked about sugar before but it is the most popular ingredient added to foods in the US.

Sugar is found in cakes and cookies and it is added to many of the processed foods such as ketchup and peanut butter.

How much sugar does the average American consume per year? 

After doing some research I found that the average American consumes more than 152 pounds of sugar in one year.

That is equal to three pounds or six cups of sugar a week. Remember that is on average. Many Americans are eating much more than that.

Two hundred years ago the average American consumed less than two pounds of sugar a year.

It is suggested that you should get about 10 per cent of calories per day from sugar. This works out to about 13 teaspoons of sugar a day. The average American is using more than 43 teaspoons of sugar a day. Much of this added sugar is coming from the sugary drinks.

Try eating more fresh fruit, raw vegetables, porridge and plain cereals. Try looking at the porridge label and you will be amazed. one gram of sugar per serving and only 10 mg of sodium.

Porridge is good for you and keeps you satisfied all morning until lunch. Sprinkle cinnamon for a little extra flavour.

What are we searching for? What is our quest? We want to live longer, be healthy and look great. Everyone is looking for the little bit of magic whether it is in a pill or the beauty salon.

Nothing will make you look younger and feel better than eating a healthy meal plan and doing regular physical activity. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good for you. Berries are an excellent source of antioxidants which help fight disease and keep you healthy.

You need to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and if you can stretch it to seven or eight so much the better. You need to be physically active for at least 40 minutes a day. Walk, cycle run, swim or dance. Make it fun but do it every day.

When we start talking about the need to be healthy there is always someone who says: “Well we are living longer today so we must be doing something right” Really?!

Three score and ten years was the average age talked about in the bible so people must have been living for more than 70 years two thousand years ago? Socrates died at age 70 around 399 BC. Socrates was executed — he did not die of old age.

Why do we want to be healthy? We want to live longer but we want to live healthy longer and that means preventing heart disease stroke and yes, dementia. The evidence is there. Regular physical activity and healthy meal plans do not only control and prevent diabetes, prevent heart disease but prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, physical exercise reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50 percent.

So there is some magic. It’s the magic that comes from eating a healthy balanced meal plan, cutting out the added sugar, drinking water and being physically active for 40 minutes a day seven days a week. If you have been inactive for a while start slow. Walk or do something physical for 10 minutes four times a day and build it up as you feel stronger and healthier.

Like the ad says “Just do it!”