Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A teaspoon of sugar

   As a cyclist I am at least somewhat interested in my health.  I suspect that on average anyone who engages in any physical activity is more actively concerned than one who does not, but that is sheer speculation and we shall leave it there.  I have become conscious over the years of many things that really should be made clearer, yet they are not.  One of these is the hidden and not so hidden ways we are exposed to things like sugar in far greater amounts than many would ordinarily choose.

   We in America don't use the metric system as they do overseas and I can see why.  The old system is not as precise for measurement, but for most common purposes it does just fine.  For cooking certainly, measurements do not have to be exact.  Any good cook knows that a recipe is merely a foundation upon which one should feel free to build according to one's taste.  I never follow a recipe to the letter and I find that cups and spoons are fine, commonsensical methods of measurement.

   The problem comes in when one is reading the nutrition labels on food products in the supermarket.  I can't remember the last time I measured anything in grams.  Frankly, it is a guessing game.  It doesn't have to be of course, so I looked up the conversion from grams to teaspoons and it was quite enlightening.  I only add a tsp. of sugar to my mug of coffee in the morning and I never add the recommended amount of sugar to any recipe as it is usually more than I find necessary.

   Apparently, each tsp. of sugar equals about 4g., so Honey Nut Cherrios, which lists about 9g of sugar contains slightly over tsp. of sugar per serving, which is more than I would add, but nothing crazy.  My instant oatmeal store brand lists 13g of sugar, which is over three teaspoons of sugar.  This is much more than I would add to the tiny portions that come in those packets--not buying anymore of those.  A popular yogurt brand list 26g of sugar for its 6oz. serving--interesting how it is sold in Imperial Units, yet labeled in metrics.  I wonder if that's the doing of the FDA?  Anyway, just offering food for thought. 


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