Keeping Valentines Day Sweet with Less Added Sugar

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So maybe you expended a lot of energy chasing after each other in the early days, but now you’re cozy and comfortable with each other. Studies show that men (and sometimes women) tend to gain weight after marriage, a lifestyle change that tends to lead to a less active routine, and that may also mean being at greater risk for cancer.

According to AICR’s expert report, excess body fat is a cause of seven different cancers, including pancreas, colorectum, breast (post menopausal), endometrium, kidney and esophagus. Body mass index (BMI) is one way to determine if you are overweight. You can figure out your BMI with AICR’s BMI Calculator.

If you find it’s getting difficult to wrap your arms around each other, consider reducing intake of “processed” sweets. Foods with high sugar content, like soda, cakes, and candies, tend to be high in calories but generally do not keep you feeling full for very long. Eating foods with excessive sugar content can cause a cycle of hunger and weight gain from overconsumption of energy.

Fortunately there are some easy ways to adjust calorie intake to keep lovebirds fit and healthy :

  • Portion sizing – keep the sweet, but keep it small. If you must have a dessert, share a portion and savor each bite.
  • Fruit – Full of fiber and cancer-fighting Phytochemicals, fruit is naturally sweet on its own. Try fresh cut mango, diced strawberries, or a bowl of frozen berries for a sweet treat.
  • Sugar substitutes – Agave, a thin sweet liquid derived from the Blue Agave plant, and honey, are two natural sweeteners that are actually sweeter than table sugar. This means a smaller amount can be used to achieve desired sweetness. Agave or honey can be used in baking, as a beverage sweetener, or as a topping.
  • Sometimes just giving yourself 20 to 30 minutes to digest a meal will reduce the craving for a sugar-laden dessert. Take time after dinner to chat about the time you first met each other, then decide whether or not you need a sweet to feel satisfied.

For more information of on the connection between weight and cancer-risk, check out AICR’s webpage Weight: How Much We Weigh


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Author: Alice RD

Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention into action by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.

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