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Numbers Game: Answer

McCafe latte2Before a customer adds a single sugar crystal to it, a McDonald’s large non-fat vanilla latte contains 9.25 teaspoons of added sugar just from the vanilla syrup.

For comparison’s sake, a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola contains ten teaspoons of added sugar.

Keep in mind, too, that a standard sugar packet contains a teaspoon of the sweet stuff (meaning this latte already comes sweetened with 9.25 packets of sugar).

In this particular case, the vanilla syrup tacks on an additional 148 calories to this coffee.

Ordering a regular McDonald’s large latte and sweetening it with two whole packets of sugar saves you 116 calories!

Remember — our palates are extremely susceptible to training.  On average, it takes anywhere from 21 to 25 days to get used to new flavors or reduced amounts of sugar and salt in one’s diet.

I can tell you from personal experience that my tastebuds are saturated by foods I once perceived as “not very sweet.”

Ten years ago, I was a Starbucks caramel frapuccino fiend.  If you’re keeping score at home, that’s caramel syrup + whipped cream + ribbons of caramel drizzle on top.

I have since become much more aware of my sugar intake, to the point where my tastebuds no longer enjoy extreme sweetness.

I was recently at a Starbucks where one of the baristas walked around with a tray full of sample-size caramel frapuccinos.  I decided to try one, for old time’s sake.  After one sip, I was done.  I could not believe how cloyingly sweet it was!

While there is no reason to completely cut out added sugar from your diet overnight (or at all, really), everyone can benefit from reducing their intake.

I recommend keeping track of the amount of added sugar in your diet (the naturally occurring sugars in a glass of milk or a handful of raisins is irrelevant) over the course of three days.

If, on average, your intake is between 28 and 32 grams, you are in good shape (FYI — the average adult in the United States consumes 90 grams.)

Otherwise, aim to get as close to that figure as possible.

If your average intake is closer to 90 grams, make it a goal to lower that figure by ten grams each week until you get to your desired mark.

For the record: in 2002 I kept track of my added sugar intake for three days (for a class project) and I averaged 104 grams a day!  So, believe me, I’ve been there.

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