Valentine's Day is this weekend, which means lotsa wine and chocolate!! Vday is one of those New Year's Resolutions excuse days, when we say, "Oh it's just one day! It's part of the tradition!" And then after all the wine and chocolate binging, none of us want to get back on the treadmill and healthy eating regimen. Why is that? Because our bodies actually chemically change when we eat so much sugar and fat. We get sugar highs that are followed by sugar crashes. Then we crave the sugar afterwards to keep us going, and it becomes really hard to keep your mind off of the soda machine or those donuts at work. At the same time though, we don't want to cut it out completely. That's no fun. So how much is too much?
In the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines released by the FDA this January, it is recommended that we:
- "Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats"
American Heart Association recommends that we eat "no more than 100 calories per day for most American women and no more than 150 per day for men (or about 6 teaspoons/25 grams a day for women and 9 teaspoons/37.5 grams a day for men)." And, "it's ideal to keep total fat intake between 25 and 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from unsaturated fats."
Let's take a look at a bag of M&Ms (on my pretty pink yoga mat):
In this bag, there are supposedly 8 servings, and in each of these 8 servings, there are 8 grams of fat total, or 12% of daily intake, and 31g of sugar, or 10% of daily intake. How many of us actually eat a serving size of chocolate? I know I don't - I usually eat at least a third of this bag when I crack it open. So that means 24g of fat and 93g of sugar. WAY above the recommended daily intake. Yeesh.
Wine is a whole different story too, and they don't have nutrition labels on them, so nobody is ever quite sure how much of anything they are drinking. So let me gather some numbers. According to USDA's National Nutrient Database, there are different amounts of sugar ranging from 1 gram (dry white wine) to 8 grams (moscato, dessert wines). Below is a cool infographic from Wine Folly (not the most reliable source, but you get the picture) that demonstrates how much sugar is in each kind of wine. The general rule seems to be, the more "dry" the wine, the less sweet and less sugar there is in it. If you drink one glass of desert wine, your daily intake of sugar is already maxed out. And how many of us only drink one glass of wine?
So how about making some healthy eating and drinking SMART goals this Valentine's Day? Check out my post on SMART Goals to create goals that you will actually stick to. Make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely!
Here's mine for this weekend:
I will drink only one glass of wine or one cocktail and only so many candies/chocolates that can fit in the palm of my hand each day this weekend.
I know that it is still a lot of sugar, but I have to keep my goal realistic. Share yours in the comments below!