Health Check for Internal Auditors – Sugar

SugarInternal Audit work can mean long days, late nights, working away from home, all of which make it very hard to plan meals.  Thank God for the vending machine, coffee and soft drinks, right?  Not if you want to remain a healthy and productive professional.

Here are just a few of the illnesses that have been traced to sugar consumption:

A study conducted at the University of Utah determined that mammals’ lives are notably shortened by the consumption of sugar in what was deemed the “safe” zone.

And I’m sure you’ve heard the bad news about how sugar consumption in the US has skyrocketed:

american-sugar-consumptionI’m sure you’ve told yourself, “that isn’t me.  I’m an outlier!” But are you?

Sugar has become synonymous with taste.  At least that’s the case if you ask the makers of processed foods.  They have become quite deft at hiding sugar in the ingredient labels and distracting us with other marketing terms (e.g., heart healthy, gluten free, all natural, etc.)  Here is a great article to get you started on your label auditing and sugar investigations (The 6 Sneakiest Ways Sugar Hides In Your Food).

So, how much sugar should you be eating?

In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO), set a sugar guideline of 10% of the daily calories consumed.  In March of this year, they proposed cutting that to 5%.  If we do the math, for a normal consumption of 2000 calories per day (average adult male, women would be less), 5% would be 100 calories (25 grams).

Below is a list of some typical foods you might eat and their sugar content:

As you can see, it is quite hard to manage a diet with less than 25 grams of sugar, especially if you’re going for convenience.

So, now is time to put on your auditor hat.  It is a common rule of business that you can’t manage what you don’t measure.  Therefore, the first step in managing your sugar consumption is awareness.  The easiest way to do this is to log what you eat.  No need to get a scale or measuring cup out, but make a record and estimate volumes.  After you’ve done this for three to five days, go back and get an estimate of your calories and sugar.  Myfitnesspal.com and Livestrong.com are both good resources for this research, or you can just google it.

Now you have the data you need to begin adjusting your sugar intake.

Please come back and let me know how it went.  Were you a sugar consumption outlier?  Did your results surprise you?

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