I miss the 80’s. Listening to Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me on my Walkman as I lay slathered in suntan oil sipping a Big Gulp was teenage perfection.

But we all have to grow up, and it seems that a lot of us never did. According to the USDA, Americans consume 52 teaspoons (1084 grams) PER DAY; we only utilize, on average, 20 of those teaspoons. This leaves 32 teaspoons,or 134.4 grams, of unused sugar building up in the body–per person, per day. The USDA recommends consuming no more than 40 grams per day. It appears we’re either throwing caution to the wind, or completely unaware of how much sugar is in the processed foods we eat.

The latest research on the harmful effects of sugar is sounding the alarm that we all must drastically limit our exposure to this “toxic” substance. 

Click here to view the 60 Minutes story on the sugar crisis.

Sugars are now being linked to life threatening diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. In addition, research is showing an addictive component to sugar. According to Dr. Robert Lustig, endocrinologist and author of Sugar: The Bitter Truth, men should consume no more than 150 calories of added sugars a day, and women 100 calories, which is equivalent to one can of soda a day.

So that’s why I get mad when the kids come off the bus with candy wrappers from treats dolled out at school, are served cup cakes at soccer, and given a candy bar at tennis and piano lessons. By the time the kids sit down to dinner they have far exceeded their sugar quota for the day and I haven’t even had the chance to serve dessert.

Therefore, my children know that sweets and treats are off limits, with the exception of one homemade dessert, IF a healthy dinner was consumed. Desserts are typically high fiber and full of nutrients with care to minimize refined sugars and processed ingredients. So, when the kids come home from school, piano lessons, tennis lessons, basketball etc. etc. etc. with candy and other sugary treats, they know it should be deposited in the “treat bowl,” which is a dumping ground for junk of which I later discreetly dispose.

Check out these links for healthy desserts including Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls, ABCD Bars, Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie Chai Pudding, and Apple Cobbler.

Give it a try. Your kids will love it today and thank you tomorrow!

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