24 October 2013 Stop the In-Sugar-Anity!

Sugar is not just white lumps these days that we put in our tea, nice and tidy and easy to limit when asked, “one lump or two?” Sugar is making its way into all sorts of foods, even “health” foods, and if we’re not careful we could end up consuming a lot more than we should.

How bad is it? Americans are consuming an alarming 13 percent of their daily calorie intake from added sugars in foods. The math says that equals nearly 130 pounds of sugar per year, 22 teaspoons a day. Now, it’s unlikely that anyone would consciously scoop up 22 teaspoons of white sugar granules and plop it on their yogurts, cereals, and stir in their drinks. But that’s exactly what some food companies are having us do without even knowing it.

How much should we have? According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than six teaspoons of sugar daily, and for men it’s nine teaspoons.

Where does it come from? We can’t blame restaurants for sneaking in that extra heap of sugar to our foods. One recent survey from the National Health and Nutrition Examination found that 67 percent of our sugar intake happens right in our own homes. That means we’re doing this to ourselves.

Where is the sugar? You might be surprised where sugar is hiding. Are you cutting down your fat and calorie intake by choosing low-fat salad dressing? It’s common for the food industry to add sugars to make them tastier options. Perhaps a simple oil-and-vinegar dressing could eliminate that trap.

Eating too much sugar tricks our brains, stopping it from receiving the “I’m full” signal and leaving you feeling like you haven’t eaten as much as you have. Do you find yourself going back for that extra bread roll before dinner? Breads, and not just white bread, often have at least two grams of added sugar per slice.

Another problem with eating too much sugar is that it accelerates the aging process. Fructose, the “sweet” in sugar, is seven times more potent than the glucose portion of sugar, which leads to cell damage and contributes to diseases like Type 2 diabetes.

Sugar is out there in epic proportions, too. It is estimated that of the 600,000 processed commercial food products commonly available on the market, at least 80 percent of them contain added sugar. And soda, fruit juice, and desserts account for only half of the culprits.

Sometimes sugar adds fat to our bodies where we can’t even see it. Organ fat, especially around the liver, can force the pancreas to make extra insulin so the damaged liver can do its job. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate 1,000 extra calories of sugary foods saw only a two percent increase in body weight but a 27 percent increase in liver fat.

Yes, sugar is addicting. Dopamine, one of the body’s “feel good” neurotransmitters is sensitive, but when we eat too much fructose, it clogs the transmissions to our brain, which in turn means it takes more and more sugar for our brain to tell our body to “feel good.”

Protect yourself and your health and keep a close eye on all the places sugar may be hiding. As an experiment, do a little food inventory of what’s currently in your house and find out just how many teaspoons of sugar is lurking around the corner (it is close to Halloween by the way!).

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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Nutrients/"Carbs: Fiber, Starch, & Sugar"

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