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Wake Up and Smell the Sugar

Wake Up and Smell the Sugar by Zoe Freiburger

No one likes to think about how much sugar is in a single Starbucks Frappuccino, especially since it has become a staple in most American teenagers’ morning diets. The amount seems criminal, coming in at 32 grams for something as simple as a bottled Frappuccino, 7 grams more than the daily amount of sugar recommended by the USDA for children 2 through 18. However, all hope is not lost for leading a healthy life and indulging in your favorite pick-me-up. The key is moderation.

Loosely defined, a moderate diet avoids excessive amounts of calories of any particular food or nutrient. But it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what moderation means to you, given that it is subjective to everyone, depending on your gender and nutritional needs.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, teen girls between thirteen and eighteen need around 1,600 to 1,800 calories per day if inactive, and around 2,200 to 2,400 calories each day if active. Older girls, depending on their activity level, should aim for 1,800 to 2,400 calories per day. Teenage boys ages 14 to 18 need around 2,000 to 2,400 calories each day if inactive and 2,800 to 3,200 calories each day if active.

This means that balancing what you eat and drink using portion control is crucial to having a moderate diet. One meal a day should not have almost the daily number of calories recommended, and certainty one drink should not have more than the daily recommended amount of sugar. When snacking or preparing food, it’s important to check the serving sizes listed on the packaging. They may seem laughable or unbearably small, but they allow you to healthily indulge in fattening carbs or sugar and keep track of exactly how many calories, sugars, carbs and vitamins you’re getting from each meal.

Having a variety of different foods, much like school lunches have multiple different components, is another important tool in helping to keep a moderate, nutritional diet. Having different kinds of fruits, vegetables, meats and even unhealthy snacks allows your body to absorb all the nutrients and vitamins it needs.

Everyone loves to indulge from time to time, and with the simple use of moderation, there’s no need to feel bad binging on a sugary venti caramel macchiato half and half, 10 pumps vanilla, extra whip at 120 degrees.

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