It’s inevitable. Unless you possess super willpower, you’re going to consume what we like to call the “good stuff”—sugar, sodium and saturated fat (ie. The stuff that tastes good but that you should have only in limited amounts). The 3 S’s are probably no strangers to your diet, so we sat down with nutritionist Elizabeth Zemelman of thenutritiongroup.com to find out just how much is safe to include in your diet.
How much is safe? 10% of your carbohydrates each day can safely come from sugar. So here’s the math: If you consume 300 grams of carbohydrates a day, no more than 30 grams should come from sugar.
How does sugar affect your body? Too much can raise your blood sugar levels and can actually make you feel hungrier. It causes you to store access fat, not to mention get dental cavities.
If you need to reach for some sugary “good stuff”, opt for a Tim Horton’s chocolate dip donut, which contains 9 grams of sugar, and not a Hershey’s chocolate bar, which contains 30 grams of sugar. TIP Watch for hidden sugars in sweetened yogurt (23 grams). Instead, opt for a cup of unsweetened yogurt with fresh fruit and a dollop of honey.
How much is safe? 2,300 milligrams a day
How does sodium affect your body? Extra sodium can cause high blood pressure and can cause you to retain water (bloating).
If you’ve got a craving for some salty “good stuff”, opt for a small order of fries at McDonalds, which contains 140 mg of sodium, and not a Big Mac, which contains a whopping 1,040 mg of sodium. TIP Try making your own French fries at home by slicing up a potato and sprinkling sea salt on top before baking at 425 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.
How much is safe? 20 to 30% of your diet should come from fats, but only 10% of that should come from saturated fats.
How does fat affect your body? Can cause heart disease.
If you’re in the mood for some real “fat”, opt for a Garden Veggie slice from Pizza Pizza, which contains 7 grams of saturated fat—minus the garlic dipping sauce, which contains (brace yourself) 34 grams of fat. TIP Ask your waiter for olive oil with your bread basket instead of butter. You’ll end up skipping the saturated fat all together for the heart-healthy kind that tastes just as delicious.
Don’t miss our health update on the in FLARE’s July issue.