Thursday, September 03, 2015

Kavita Devgan, Hindustan Times
February 22, 2013

# Are you on a sugar high?

1. Do you know how many grams of sugar are there in one teaspoon?
(a) I am not sure; I’ve never really thought about it.
(b) Must be about 4-5 grams.
(c) Is it about 2-3 grams? (a) 3 pts (b) 10 pts (c) 5 pts
One level teaspoon (tsp) is about 4 grams of sugar and as sugar is a type of carbohydrate, one gram is equal to 5 calories. So one tsp adds up to 20 calories.

2. How many spoons of sugar do you add to your cuppas (tea, coffee etc.) everyday?
(a) I don’t keep count.
(b) A total of two teaspoons every day, spread over as many cups as I want!
(c) Well, I have about 3-4 cups everyday and one teaspoon in each.

(a) 3 pts (b) 10 pts (c) 5 pts
Try calculating your yearly calories just from the sugar you add to your cuppas and you’ll be appalled. Ideally, limit the intake of sugar to one tsp per cup of coffee, milk or tea, not exceeding 2-3 cups per day.

3. How much cola do you have every week?
(a) No cola for me. They are loaded with sugar.
(b) One or two bottles. Why, what’s the problem?
(c) Occasionally. Is there a connect?

(a) 10 pts (b) 3 pts (c) 5 pts
A regular can of cola (about 350 ml) has about 10 teaspoons of sugar. So think before you gulp.

4. Do you prefer juice or a fruit?
(a) I find gulping a glass of packaged juice far easier.
(b) I like my fruits; I love the crunch.
(c) Well, I am okay with either; whatever is handy actually.

(a) 3 pts (b) 10 pts (c) 5 pts
Juice is loaded with sugar; fruit also has fibre, which delays digestion time and keeps your blood- sugar level stable. Also go easy on the canned fruits, sports drinks and iced teas. Beverages are how most hidden sugars sneak in.

5. When you read food labels, do you check the sugar content as well?
(a) Yes, I check for sugar. I know about different kinds of sugar.
(b) Yes, I look for the word sugar definitely.
(c) No, I don’t usually check the labels.

(a) 10 pts (b) 5 pts (c) 3 pts
Labels don’t usually mention just sugar. Look for raw sugar, glucose, honey, lactose, maltose, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, sorbitol, brown sugar, fructose, fruit juice concentrate or sucrose.

6. Because a food is savoury (crackers, soups etc), there’s no sugar in it, right?. So you eat it all you want, right?
a) Yeah obviously!
b) I worry about the salt content, so I don’t have too much of these.
c) No, I go easy on these too as they do have some sugar.

(a) 3 pts (b) 5 pts (c) 10 pts
Sugar is often added to foods to prolong its shelf life. You’ll find it in everything from cereal bars, salad dressings, Thai curries, ketchupa and crackers, to instant soups, granola, flavoured yoghurts, instant cereal mixes, and protein bars.

7. If a label says low in calories, or low-fat, is that a must buy?
a) I know that low-fat foods can be high on sugar.
b) I don’t bother to check labels, only brand names.
c) I look for low-fat foods consciously when I shop.

(a) 10 pts (b) 3 pts (c) 5 pts
Sometimes when fat is removed, sugar is added to give flavour. So check the labels, guys!

8. Do you have breakfast every day?
(a) I skip it on most days.
(b) I grab a fruit or a toast on my way out.
(c) Yes, every day. I make time for a substantial breakfast, come what may.

(a) 3 pts (b) 5 pts (c) 10 pts
To keep sugar cravings away, it is very important to keep the blood sugar level stable by starting the day with a nutritious breakfast. Having smaller meals throughout the day also helps.

9. Do you use a sweetener with tea or coffee?
(a) Yes.  I think they are a good alternative.
(b) I avoid anything chemical.
(c) I don’t have them but am tempted to.

(a) 3 pts (b) 10 pts (c) 5 pts
Sweeteners make the problem worse. They may have zero calories but keep the sweet craving and taste alive.

10. Is eating something sweet (a chocolate, barfi etc.) a must after a meal?
(a) Yes I need my sugar fix after every meal.
(b) I like sweets but I have them occasionally and always stop after a few small bites.
(c) Well, not after every meal but I do give in to temptation every now and then.

(a) 3 pts (b) 10 pts (c) 5 pts
You should be the one deciding when and how much to eat, not the other way round. Too much can land you with not just that jiggly roll around your middle, but also prime you up for diabetes and heart disease. So go easy.

RESULTS
Under 40 points
You are happily riding a sugar rush right now – and have absolutely no clue how much sugar you are consuming every day. In fact, if I may say so, you are almost sugar blind. Stop now, before the sugar demon gobbles you up.

Between 40 and 70 points
You are not totally clueless about sugar but a lot of confusion still remains. Understand that just shunning the sugar bowl is not enough, serious reading of labels is required. There is certainly nothing wrong with moderate amounts of sugar, but excess adds up rather fast.

Over 70 points
Congratulations! You are quite clued in and are watching your every sugary step. Keep at it and continue to keep temptation at bay. Too much of this sweet stuff, even in its natural form, will ultimately make yo pay a very bitter price!

From HT Brunch, February 24

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