I am a Chai Tea Latté Addict. I admit it. And it’s not good. It’s adding A LOT of added sugar to my diet, which isn’t good for my heart or my health, or my waist line. There’s been a lot of hype lately about added sugar being in practically everything, and it has made me take a hard look at where I’m getting sugar where I don’t need it. And not the all natural kind like bananas. Every morning for the last 4 months I’ve been having a Chai Tea by Big Train. It’s delicious. (In fact, it’s so good, that I have an Amazon monthly subscription of it) I love it. And they make a great product. But, it has 28g of sugar in 1 serving. Which means, I had to cancel my lovely subscription, after 6 months of awesomeness.
Facts about Added Sugar
According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are 25g or 100 calories. Holy moly, I had all my added sugar in 1 cup of Chai Tea, and some days I’d have 2! This is no bueno.
What is considered an added sugar?
Table sugar (sucrose) or high fructose corn syrup.
As a triathlete, I’m not only taking in added sugar in my every day diet, but it is often in sports drinks and sports chews/gels/bars, etc. This started to really concern me since the AHA only recommends 25g. Yes, I’m burning a lot more calories than the average individual due to triathlon training, but I still don’t want to give myself a heart attack.
How do we avoid added sugar?
Avoid the following foods:
- Soft drinks
- fruit juices
- Candies and sweets
- Baked goods
- Fruits canned in syrup
- Low-fat or diet foods
- Dried fruits
Instead of sugar in recipes, you can try things like cinnamon, nutmeg, almond extract, vanilla, ginger, or lemon.
Ok, so what if you already are eating fairly clean, but you still buy packaged foods for a few items on your grocery list. The best way to cut back on sugar is simply to avoid processed foods and satisfy sweet tooth cravings with fruits instead. This is the simple solution, however, it’s not always that simple, because we do buy packaged foods. There are many different names for sugar: sugar, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, dehydrated cane juice, fructose, glucose, dextrose, syrup, cane sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, and more.
Rules of thumb:
- If a packaged food contains sugar in the first 3 ingredients, avoid it. That usually means it was the staple to it’s creation.
- If a packaged food contains more than one type of sugar, avoid it.
- Be mindful of agave and honey, and only buy pure versions, otherwise there most likely is added sugar. My favorites are Blue Agave by Whole Sweeteners and Raw Honey.
- What’s tough is fruit is made up of fructose, so not all fructose is created equal. You can read more about that here.
In all of my research so far for this post, I have found that truly the best thing to do is to eat as little processed food as possible. It’s in more places than we think. Even your can of beans most likely has sugar in it, even if it’s just a few grams. #mindblown
How do we make our Coffee Healthier?
Okay, so now that we have covered sugar, how do we make our Coffee Healthier? Here are my tips:
- Add 1 packet of stevia
- Add cinnamon
- Add unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- Add vanilla
- Put it in a post-workout protein smoothie – example recipe below
Iced Coffee Latté Smoothie
1/2 frozen banana
1-2 shots of espresso (depends strong you want it, or how much caffeine)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 handful of ice
Happy National Coffee Day!