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Thanksgiving: Food, Family, Health

For many of us, the holidays are the one time of year when we can gather our far-flung families and bring them all back to the same table. Some of us have cranberry with our turkey and some of us serve salsa.  But for everybody, Thanksgiving is about food and family.  And that’s what makes it also about health.

We can all get fixated on the delicious food at Thanksgiving dinner.  But we also know that what really matters are those people seated around the dinner table.  At the end of the day, we are each invested in protecting the health of every other person at that table.  After all, we want to share next year’s Thanksgiving with them and many, many more.

Wanting to connect with others and protect other peoples’ health is what motivated us to create SugarScience.  As doctors and researchers in an academic medical center, we wanted to share what we know in hopes of gathering us all together to address some major health concerns of our time.

Sometimes we have to share tough news, but the news is far from all bad.  On the contrary, after reviewing the scientific evidence, we came to the conclusion that we can have our cake (in moderation) and eat it too.

That’s what’s behind our science-based recommendations on how much added sugar is too much.  We wanted to help people understand that they can enjoy sugary treats and good health at the same time.  For women, try to keep your added sugar intake down to 6 teaspoons a day (25 grams) and for men, 9 teaspoons (38 grams).  For me, this will simply mean skipping the sugary yogurt at breakfast so I can savor the apple pie at Thanksgiving dinner (which conveniently, has about 6 teaspoons of sugar per slice).

This year, when I sit down with my family after having traveled so far, I’m going to savor the fact that delicious food, feeling connected to other people and good health are all present, sitting together with us at that table.  And I hope that, by sharing what we know, we can help you feel the same.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at SugarScience!

Added sugar

Any sugar added in preparation of foods, either at the table, in the kitchen or in the processing plant. This may include sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and others.

SugarScience Glossary

SugarScience is the authoritative source for evidence-based, scientific information about sugar and its impact on health.

Laura A. Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH

Laura A. Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH, is a professor in the UCSF School of Medicine. She has dedicated her career to intervening on the social determinants of health and to understanding how lifestyle risk factors, such as alcohol and poor diet, influence chronic disease and health inequality.

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