Added sugar is the worst ingredient in the modern diet and is responsible for our obesity epidemic (along with many others health issues). It is very important to make the distinction between added sugars and sugars that occur naturally in foods like fruits and vegetables.These are healthy foods that contain water, fiber, and various micro-nutrients. Naturally occurring sugars are absolutely fine, but the same does not apply to added sugar. Added sugar is the main ingredient in candy and is abundant in many processed foods, such as soft drinks and baked good products. The most common added sugars are regular table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup. If you want to lose weight and optimize your health, you should do your best to avoid foods that contain added sugars.
In the 1900’s, the U.S consumed approximately 5 lbs of sugar per person. In the 2000’s, that number rose to 150 lbs per person (and is still on the rise!) 61 of those lbs were from high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is responsible for the rise in weight gain, cancer, fatty liver disease, increased cholesterol levels, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, leaky gut and more. Sugar is hidden in nearly everything so it’s important to educate yourself on what the appropriate intake is and know how close you’re coming to that number daily.
According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are:
- Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons)
- Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons)
To put that into perspective, one 12-oz can of Coke contains 140 calories from sugar, while a regular-sized Snickers bar contains 120 calories from sugar.
In contrast, the US dietary guidelines advise people to limit their intake to less than 10% of their daily calorie intake. For a person eating 2,000 calories per day, this would equal 50 grams of sugar or about 12.5 teaspoons.
Here are some additional mind-blowing facts about sugar …
- The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar every day. The average child consumes a whopping 32 teaspoons daily!
- Refined sugar is linked to insomnia, dizziness, allergies, manic depression, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, hypoglycemia, colon & pancreatic cancer, hair loss, ADD/ADHD, breakouts & skin irritation, tooth decay, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
- Sugar is addictive! It releases an opiate-like substance that activates the brains “reward system.”
- Americans drink approximately 53 gallons of soft drinks per person every year. The average can of soda contains about 40 grams of sugar or 10-teaspoons of sugar. In a 64 oz soda, like at a gas station or movie theater, there can be up to 53 teaspoons of sugar! Carbonated beverages are the highest source of refined sugar in the American diet.
- The consumption of sugar is growing faster than the world’s population, increasing by about 1% every year.
- In the American diet, added sugar alone accounts for approximately 496 calories per day.
- Refined sugar has zero nutrition value. It does not contain any vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fats, or fiber. Everything beneficial is removed during the refinement process.
- What does sugar do to the body? It makes the digestive system acidic, which leaches vitamins and minerals from the body, particularly calcium from the bones and teeth and depletes potassium and magnesium, which are both essential for cardiac health. It also suppresses the immune system and causes an overproduction of digestive enzymes that stress out the pancreas. It impairs liver function (possibly leading to high blood pressure, skin issues, and acne). Lastly, it inhibits blood flow and affects aging, contributing to dental issues, increased wrinkles, and dry, aged skin.
By eliminating or greatly reducing refined sugar, you can become significantly healthier and prevent nasty health issues! Be aware, if you drastically cut your refined sugar intake, expect withdraw symptoms that could include fatigue, depression, headaches, and achy limbs. I recommend weeing yourself off in stages to cause less stress on you mentally and physically.