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Refined Sugar and Me Week 6 — On Sugar and Calories

Let’s check in on week six of refined sugar & me in 2017! This week I’m down another pound, making it six pounds total in six weeks. Slow and steady wins… well, I guess it wins you slightly looser pants, if nothing else. I’ll take it. 😉 I’m also really liking apple slices with a couple of homemade cheese crisps as a snack this week, and would love to hear more filling real food snacking ideas from you guys.

So here’s what’s interesting this week: When I started this little experiment I decided to try focusing just on sugar in order to deal with one thing at a time. Accordingly, I’m avoiding most added sugars, but haven’t been counting calories or (at the moment) worrying about the salt and fat pillars of Salt Sugar Fat. Avoiding added sugar inherently means I’m avoiding a lot of processed foods (and thus cutting down on both salt & fat as a result) but I’m still eating cheese and red meat — and even some tortilla chips, because: Yum, tortilla chips.

Less sugar, fewer calories…

When I got my Fitbit a few days, though, I started playing with its handy calorie logging tool as shown in the Friday-today chart above. I put in a goal weight and how many pounds a week I wanted to lose (1 pound) and the Fitbit calculated the calorie deficit I’d need each day between calories in and calories expended. Gray is calories out, so the total varies depending on how many steps I take and how much exercise I get (and today’s calories out will increase as I move around more this afternoon, which is why the bar is shorter in this screen shot from earlier).

As I enter what I eat during the day, it keeps track of the calories I take in vs. how many I’ve expended. The Danger! Warning! Red! bar of course reflects yesterday’s Super Bowl fun, lol — although even yesterday I somehow expended slightly more calories than I took in, which is kind of surprising. Green is great, while yellow means I’m still under my target calorie deficit for the day to keep on track to lose a pound a week, but am getting close to the limit.

So here’s interesting part: Without consciously trying to limit calories, and without feeling hungry, I’m apparently doing pretty well here in consistently burning more calories than I’m eating. I will absolutely guarantee you that this chart would have looked a lot different six weeks ago.

A spoonful of sugar…

The average U.S. consumer takes in 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day — which is 352 calories in sugar alone. (Boom! There’s a good chunk of your calorie deficit right there…) It’s not only that, though: The highs and lows of added sugar tend to make us hungrier and want to eat more in general.

What’s getting to me lately is yogurt. My brain wants to see all yogurt as healthy — when I was a teenager we always had regular or custard Yoplait in the fridge, and it was the “healthy snack” we were supposed to reach for. So let’s look at some I happen to have in my fridge. On the left above, a single serve Chobani vanilla Greek yogurt that contains 13 grams of sugar total per 5.3 oz container (which = 19.62 grams of sugar per 8 oz serving, for purposes of comparison). On the right above, a big tub of Friendly Farms plain Greek yogurt from ALDI that contains 7 grams of naturally occurring sugar per 8 oz serving (which = 4.64 grams of sugar per 5.3 oz container, for purposes of comparison). There are about 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon…

I told you last week about how my taste buds have changed since I’ve stopped eating a lot of sugary processed foods. Now that I’m enjoying the plain Greek yogurt a lot more than I used to, I’d rather add in something like blueberries than eat the pre-sweetened. (And what’s up with the added water in the Chobani? That seems odd, and is maybe to keep the total calories lower? But that’s sheer conjecture on my part.)

So, that’s me this week

How are you doing on your own healthier eating plan so far — and what have you found that helps you stay on track?

Earlier installments:

Or, you can follow the whole Refined Sugar and Me series here.


Tuesday 7th of February 2017

I joined Weight Watchers June 1st and have lost 57 lbs so far. I rarely eat yogurt any more because of the sugar. I do something similar to what Karen does. I take a frozen banana and put it in the food processor. Then when it starts to look creamy I add a tablespoon of cocoa powder and its like eating chocolate ice cream. Bolthouse Farms is what I like to use for a dip. They have lots of flavors and only have 2 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoons. Ranch is my favorite. Another snack I like is polish ham wrapped around a pickle spear. Good luck on your journey!


Tuesday 7th of February 2017

I have been having a couple of frozen banana slices topped with a little natural peanut butter. when you are off sugar, it tastes like a decadent ice cream treat! I love following Mashup. Thanks for everything!

Heidi Bassie

Monday 6th of February 2017

The Dannon Triple Zero has no sugar. Just another option. I found the best no sugar salty chip substitute-, I've only tried the simply salted but they are so yummy! With laughing cow cheese is awesome!


Monday 6th of February 2017

Thanks! Dannon Triple Zero has Stevia though -- I'm trying to stay away from sweeteners as well so would rather stick with the plain. The Primizie look yummy!


Monday 6th of February 2017

Make your own yogurt and stop buying added water and sugars! Seriously though, the sugar found in the plain yogurt is coming from the lactose and not cane sugar. Go look on a gallon of milk and check the sugar, you may be shocked! I was just coming here to suggest eating Greek yogurt as a snack (whether you buy it or make it) because they say dairy and protein really satisfy you and help keep you feeling full longer than say carbs will. I try to eat a bowl of yogurt every night, sometimes with some fruit added in, because it keeps me from grabbing the chip bag or other processed foods. I ran out of my own yogurt yesterday and just have some Dannon in my fridge I got on clearance at Kroger and I really miss the quality of my own when I eat store bought stuff. I think you are doing great by losing slow and steady because you are creating a lifestyle of healthy habits and probably will not gain it back like people do who go on crash diets and starve themselves! I wish I could get myself to quit eating junk food like you have!


Monday 6th of February 2017

I know, I know! It has been on my list of things to do for so long now. And yes, I know where the sugar comes from in the plain yogurt, and I'm fine with that -- it's the sheer number of added sugars in the sweetened that is amazing to me.

(I haven't stopped eating junk food -- see tortilla chips, lol. But just the avoiding sugar thing greatly limits them.)

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