Monday, June 7, 2010

Prevent Summer Learning Loss ~ Tip #7 ~ Health

One of the ways to stay healthy and use a few of your math skills is to be aware of how much sugar you eat each day. Most sources say that you should limit your intake of sugar to 100 to 300 calories per day or no more than 8 teaspoons per day. The problem is that all nutrition labels indicate amounts of sugar in grams instead of calories or teaspoons. So in order to know the amount of sugar in foods, you have to do a few calculations.

Let's assume 12 ounces of a cola drink has 100 calories. When reading the nutrition label, you find that it has 24 grams of sugar. To calculate the teaspoons of sugar, divide the number of grams by 4. So, 24 divided by 4 equals 6. That means this cola would contain 6 teaspoons of sugar. That's almost the daily limit.

Now, each teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories. So if you multiply 6 times 16, you find that 96 of the calories in this cola come from sugar. That means 96% of the calories are nothing but sugar. Another way to calculate calories is to know that each gram of sugar contains 4 calories. Again, if you take 24 times 4, you get 96 calories of the 100 coming from sugar.

Sugar comes in many forms. Look for words like sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, lactose, and honey. But remember, not all of these are bad for you. Milk (lactose), fruit (fructose), and vegetables (glucose) all contain sugars, but also contain bulk and fiber as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

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