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The effects of eating too much sugar

how to remove added sugars from diet

Sugar is one of the mostly widely used condiments on the planet. We add it our baking, sprinkle it on cereal and splash it in our coffee, but is this crystalized ingredient the root cause of many chronic diseases and illness in our society today. The short answer is YES!

Many of us many turn to sugar because we find it tasty, satisfying and just plain irresistible. We cannot control our sweet tooth whenever a cookie, piece of chocolate or cake is around.  The rule of “just one bite” hardly stands true when we are staring at the bottom of an empty ice cream tub and we ask ourselves, “how did I get here?”.

When I am talking about sugar, I am talking about the highly processed sugar ingredients that are often added to high caloric processed foods. I am not talking about the natural sugars that are found in fruits and vegetables which do not cause the same detrimental health effects as processed sugars.  These highly refined/processed sugars come with many names, with approximately 74% of processed foods containing these added sugars in their ingredient lists, conveniently hidden under more than 60 different chemical names.

Many of us are unaware

The truth about refined sugar is that it is toxic to our bodies, addicting and can lead us down a path of increasing our risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and death.

The average American consumes an average of 22 teaspoons (tsp) of sugar per day, and this can be as high as 32 tsp per day in some individuals.  This equates to roughly 350 calories of sugar on a daily basis daily basis, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.  Just to give you some perspective, a 12 ounce can of Coca Cola contains approximately 39 grams of sugar, which equates to a little over 9 tsp of sugar.  That’s less than half the daily average in just one serving; sneak in a cookie or chocolate bar and a triple-triple coffee order and you can be sure that you are reaching well over 30 tsp per of sugar.

Many patients have asked me this question, is there an amount of sugar I can have in a given day that is safe for my body? There is an upper threshold of how much processed sugar the body can handle. The World Health Organization which is committed to their goal of building a better, healthier future for people all over the world, suggests that adults and children should reduce their intake of added sugar throughout their life, with evidence supporting a reduction of less than 10% of total daily caloric intake, with even more health benefits when individuals achieve a reduction in sugar to 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of their total energy intake.  The body can safely metabolize 6 tsp of sugar per day, reducing the risk of storage of excess sugar as fat which can lead to unhealthy weight gain, potentiate cardiovascular disease, cancer and metabolic disorders.

Free sugars are all sugars added to foods or drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.

Consuming free sugars increases the risk of dental caries (tooth decay). Excess calories from foods and drinks high in free sugars also contribute to unhealthy weight gain, which can lead to overweight and obesity.

When I am talking about sugar, I am talking about the highly processed sugar ingredients that are often added to high caloric processed foods. I am not talking about the natural sugars that are found in fruits and vegetables which do not cause the same detrimental health effects as processed sugars.  These come with many names, with approximately 74% of processed foods containing these added sugars in their ingredient lists, conveniently hidden under more than 60 different chemical names.

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