(CARLSBAD, CA) – A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but Mary Poppins might just change her mind if she knew how much sugar Americans are actually consuming these days.
According to the American Heart Association, adults are swallowing 22 teaspoons of sugar every day, and teens are gulping down a whopping 34 teaspoons. That’s five times the amount that’s actually recommended and the equivalent of two soft drinks plus two candy bars!
Cutting out sodas and sugary snacks is one surefire way to minimize your sugar intake. But, how do you satisfy that nagging sweet tooth when refraining from the sweet stuff?
Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett gives the straight scoop on four natural sweeteners, all of which make excellent substitutes for sugar. Try one or two of these sweeteners in place of refined sugar. Your taste buds won’t even know the difference.
Stevia – This zero-calorie sweetener is making headlines as a great alternative to sugar. Sold in both granular and liquid forms, Stevia comes from an herb plant that is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar and leaves little to no after taste.
Honey – Whether pouring it in a hot cup of tea or spreading it on toast, honey is sweeter than sugar, so a little bit goes a long way. Honey is actually slightly higher in calories than sugar. Despite its calorie count, honey is lower on the glycemic index, which means it won’t spike your blood sugar. Honey is also high in antioxidants, in contrast with white sugar, which has been stripped of its nutrients during an extensive refining process.
Sucanat – When the juices of freshly cut sugar cane are dried, the result is sucanat. The dark brown granules are unrefined, unlike white sugar. While its calorie count is on par with traditional white sugar, sucanat has more nutrients. Sucanat’s flavor is mild and tastes similar to molasses. Try putting some in a smoothie or mixing it in a cold beverage.
Agave Nectar – Move over, Jose Cuervo! The agave plant has been used to make tequila for ages, but now its sap is heated to form a golden nectar. It tastes similar to honey and can be easily mixed into beverages and most recipes. Agave nectar is sweeter than sugar, so you don’t need as much of it to pack the same flavorful punch.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. Judi and Jazzercise Executive Vice President Shanna Missett Nelson have advanced the business opportunities of women and men in the fitness industry by growing the program into an international franchise business that today, hosts a network of 7,500 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries.
The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and cardio box movements, has positively affected millions of people worldwide. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. Additional Jazzercise programs include Junior Jazzercise, Jazzercise Lite and Personal Touch. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.