Wellness Wednesday and Sneaky Sugars with Monica Moreno

Photo by Brynna Kaplan, Monica at Wellness Wednesday giving a sneaky sugar demo

Everyone craves their favorite sweets now and again, but what if added sugars were sneaking into foods that we would never expect? How can we become aware of our daily sugar intake and adjust it to meet a better goal?

Luckily, Monica Auslander Moreno had all the answers. Monica’s private practice, Essence Nutrition located in Midtown Miami, helps educate people about how to optimize their nutrition. She joined us this past Wellness Wednesday at Jackson Hall to share three tips and tricks on how to spot sneaky sugars in your daily diet and how to easily shave off the added grams.

Photo by Brynna Kaplan, The average daily intake for Americans of added sugars

1. Your added sugars should add to zero.

The amount of added sugar you consume per day should ideally be zero. There should be NO added sugar in your day. A teaspoon of sugar, equivalent to a packet you would put into your coffee, is four grams. Maybe if you put one of those in your coffee, the four grams of added sugar is not such a big deal. But to say that fifty grams of added sugar a day is fine is not so fine. Your added sugar goals should be zero, maybe four. So you can start to get to that and start really counting your added sugar grams, and you’re going to be in a much better spot and be much more aware.

2. Awareness is key.

Become aware of your baseline habits and then trickle it down from there. Calculate what you start with in a day, read every single label, start using an app that can count it like My Fitness Pal, determine what your baseline is and then try to cut that in half. And then a quarter. And then ten percent, and on and on until you really have a diet that is really devoid of added sugars, which you don’t even need. There is no physiological need for added sugars in your life! You want to read ingredients also, because  a salad dressing bottle that contains four grams of sugar might have cane sugar and honey listed as the fifth or sixth ingredient. So you really want to start looking at both the label and the ingredient list to find out where and how we’re adding sugar into our bodies.

3. Sugars can be healthy, too!

Added sugars, by the way, doesn’t mean all sugars. Fruit doesn’t have sugar added into it, unless you’re drinking something like a juice. Although a lot of juice doesn’t have sugar added to it, it’s just very concentrated and you wouldn’t want to drink something that’s too concentrated. With something like yogurt, a lot of things have naturally occurring sugars and you don’t want to falsely vilify those. Always remember that dairy products have lactose, which is a naturally occurring sugar.

Photo by Brynna Kaplan, Almond butter cups from della bowls

As Monica said, don’t be an ostrich who puts your head in the sand. Things like vegan coconut cake can also have added sugars, but as long as it doesn’t contain processed sugars and you consume in moderation, you can start becoming aware and cutting back on sneaky sugars! For more ways on how to optimize your nutrition, visit Essence Nutrition’s website or follow Monica on Instagram at @eatlikemonica.

Wellness Wednesdays bring informative and instructive cooking demos and nutrition sessions that equip participants with the skills they need to maintain healthy eating habits at home and beyond in a fun, communal setting for all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned home cooks. Find out more about upcoming Wellness Wednesday events here.

Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RDN is the founder of Essence Nutrition, a group of registered dietitians in Midtown. Her practice serves private clients [both children and adults], corporate clients, and consults for various restaurants, corporations, brands and schools. She provides nutrition services to the Miami Marlins, Del Monte Fresh, and Ocean Reef Resort and Club. Before opening her practice, she was a clinical dietitian at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

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