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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Sweet Teeth Beware: Sugar Cuts

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Although Bon Appétit has no plans to reduce sugar in the dining halls, it hopes to inform students about the dangers of sugar through informational campaigns and to allow students to take responsibility for their own nutrition.

“We are trying to make good campus nutrition better, but we also want students to have lots of options of what to eat,” said Trish Hare ’17, a member of the Dining Board, which includes Carleton staff and student representatives.

As a part of its effort to inform students about sugar, Bon Appétit commemorated National Food Day last Thursday by exhibiting how much sugar an average American consumes in a day and in a year.

Moving forward, Bon Appétit will continue its “For Your Wellbeing” initiative, which promotes health-conscious eating by placing an icon on Bon Appétit’s menus next to the items that have no sugar added.

“It’s somewhat disgusting to consider how much sugar we eat without thinking about it,” said Taylor Barnhill ’18.

Similarly, Katie McKenna, Bon Appétit general manager, said “When you look at how many soft drinks students drink on a daily basis, it’s frightening. Some servings of yogurt have all the sugar a woman should eat in a day.”

McKenna is careful to distinguish between added and naturally occurring sugars. Foods with natural sugars, like fruits and dairy, contain nutritional benefits like fiber and antioxidants that outweigh sugar’s risk. Foods with added sugars, however, tend to be nutritionally lacking, increasing the likelihood of weight gain and type-2 diabtes.

It can be difficult though, for students to know what they are eating because there is no nutritional information at the buffet stations. Bon Appétit’s chefs have the freedom to make foods how they wish, which means exact amounts of sugar or other nutrients will never be available to students, McKenna said.

Instead, chefs self-censor their use of sugar and salt in an effort McKenna calls “stealth nutrition,” which means the nutritional quality of foods is increased without relaying that information to students.

But McKenna clarified that this does not mean that chefs ignore student input. Hare said, Bon Appétit takes dining hall cards seriously and is staging a dinner between Bon Appétit’s dietician and Student Wellness Advocates.

In the end, efforts to combat sugar intake boil down to willingness on the part of students. Jennifer Pope, Bon Appétit nutritionist, highlighted the importance of reducing sugar consumption. “The more sugar you consume, the more you crave,” she said. As a result, she said the habits students form now will likely follow them into adulthood.

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