The average American now consumes over 170 lbs of sugar per year. At the beginning of the 20th century, the average American consumed less than 10 pounds per year. The rise in the intake of sugar over the past 20 years has created almost epidemic levels of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Unless we get the intake of sugar under control, the percentage of Americans suffering from lifestyle related disease and illness will continue to climb. Sugar is not the only food ingredient that is causing us problems; it is however close to being the worse, if not the worse.
A new study recently published in Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that sugar intake significantly contributes to illness and specifically increases cholesterol levels.
Researchers at Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta examined the added sugar intake and blood fat levels in more than 6,100 adults.
- Study participants consumed an average of 21.4 teaspoons of added sugars a day, or more than 320 calories a day from these sources.
- The study also revealed, that people with the higher intakes of added sugars were more likely to have lower levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and higher levels of triglycerides, which studies have shown to raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
The American Heart Association is recommending that women get no more than 6.5 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day and men get no more than 9.5 teaspoons (38 grams) per day.
- A Dairy Queen Blizzard has 26 teaspoons (124 grams) of sugar
- A 20 oz. Pepsi has 17.5 teaspoons (70 grams) of sugar
- A 1.7 ounce bag of M%M Peanuts has 8 teaspoons (32 grams) of sugar
How do we cut out the excess sugar?
The first step is to read the food labels on the foods we eat. Look at the Nutritional Label. Check the area under carbohydrates; you will see fiber then sugar. If the amount of sugar is more than 5 grams per serving I would read the ingredient section to see where the sugar was coming from. If they are from added sugars I would seriously consider looking for a healthier choice with less sugar.
Some people may be addicted to sugar. Most doctors do know believe that sugar is addictive and it may not be, however the physiological response from a quick rise in blood sugar is a corresponding quick drop in blood sugar that creates a craving for sugars to get the blood sugar back to a healthy level again. This is a vicious cycle that some people may find hard to break. It takes about a week of eliminating added sugars from the daily diet to break it. If you do try it cold turkey, expect a headache and fatigue for a couple of days. Now you are free of the sugar cycle!
Partial list of added sugars
- Beet Sugar, Brown Sugar, Cane Sugar, Confectioner’s Sugar, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Demerera, Dextrose, Granulated Sugar, Grape Sugar, Molasses, Muscavado Sugar, Raw Sugar, Refined Sugar, Sucrose, Table Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, White Sugar, Maple Syrup
Honey and molasses are natural and a better choice however they still cause a quick rise in blood sugar.
In my opinion the best choices for home use are stevia, xylitol and d-ribose (a sugar that produces more energy with very little blood sugar impact)
When shopping for foods, absolutely avoid high fructose corn syrups and limit the amount of added sugars to less than 10% of your daily calories. Based on this percentage, a 2000 calorie diet would include no more than 50 grams of added sugars per day.
- I would use stevia, d-ribose or xylitol, or a combination of these.
- I would use sugar alcohols secondarily
There are many types of sugars, some very healthy like d-ribose and other very healthy sugars called mucopolysaccharides.
Reading food labels are an important habit you should develop. It is the first step in your road to wellness. If you do not know what you are eating how can you control it?
Wally’s Daily Dose