On average, children consume 32 tablespoons of sugar per day. Despite the health warnings against sugar, there is no sign of slowing. It is found in most foods, including canned veggies, baby formulas, soda, bread, spaghetti sauce and microwaveable meals – whether it be natural or added. Our lack of knowledge seems to be the cause of our overzealous consumption and more than likely is linked to the obesity epidemic as well.
Even while consumers are trying to make an effort to eat better, producers are making it virtuously impossible to understand exactly what we are eating. By using words that we don’t commonly associate with sugar, like high fructose corn syrup, consumers are being fooled. Before throwing in the towel on sugar, below are a few easy-to-understand facts that should help with you and your family’s day to day diet.
Buyer beware. A few names to be conscious of when choosing your foods include, brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, malt sugar, molasses, raw sugar and any added sugar molecules ending in ‘ose’ – dextrose, glucose, maltose, sucrose.
Effects of sugar overload:
- Feeds cancers
- Increases cholesterol
- Enhances risk of Diabetes
- Raises insulin levels
- Boosts hyperactivity
- Kidney damage
- Diminishes the immune system
- Contributes to teeth loss and gum disease
- Increases weight gain and overeating
- Ages your skin
A great website to get a better idea of the amount of sugar in specific foods is www.sugarstacks.com. What you find will be alarming to the eye, but great knowledge to take with you.
Now don’t get me wrong, a restricted amount of natural sugar is ok to include in your diet. The American Heart Association ‘recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily calorie allowance – for women, 6 tsp per day and men, 9 tsp per day.’ Our body easily digests natural sugar, commonly known as glucose, which is found in whole, unprocessed foods. For example, when craving something sweet, opt for fruits, which is easy for our bodies to digest.
As research continues to develop on the effects of sugar to your overall health, a few alternatives have been found to decrease its harmful impact; Stevia and Xylitol are two of the top two alternatives on the market today. Stevia is an all natural sugar supplement derived from a plant. Having over 300 times the sweetness of sugar, Stevia has been particularly popular with Diabetic patients because of its positive effect on glucose digestion. Secondly, Xylitol not only acts as a sweetener, but is also found in many oral hygiene products to help decrease cavities (in two different forms, of course).
As mentioned above there area a variety of options out there for us to head in the right direction of decreasing our sugar intake. Better your health and quality of life by truly knowing what you’re putting into you and your family’s bodies. Sugar isn’t too sweet after all.