Sugar: it is a dangerous, but heavily present, part of our diets.
Whether you’re consuming treats and soda or pre-packaged products, you are taking in high concentrations of added sugar. According to a recent study from the University of North Carolina, consumption of added sugars by American adults has increased 30% over three decades. In real numbers, American adults are consuming 300 calories from added sugars each day. Even scarier, the average American child consumes 329 calories from added sugar a day.
What are added sugars?
According to MyPlate.gov, added sugars are sugars and syrups mixed into foods and drinks when they are processed and prepared. Added sugars are in sodas, sport drinks, candy, pasta sauces, yogurt, and even salad dressings.
So, what’s the big deal?
Why is consuming all the added sugar so bad? Elyse Powell, the author of the University of North Carolina study said, “Added sugars increase excess energy and reduce nutrient density in our diets, often contributing to weight gain and obesity.” As we know, obesity can lead to diabetes, cancers, stroke, and other deadly diseases. The American Heart Association recommends 6 teaspoons (100 calories), or less, of added sugar a day for women and 9 teaspoons (150 calories), or less, for men.
So, what happens when you cut added sugar from your diet?
- Aside from weight loss (cutting that added sugar alone would save you 200 calories each day); you can significantly decrease your risk for obesity-related diseases and conditions: cancers, stroke, heart disease, sleep apnea, gout, etc.
- Added sugars increase blood pressure and heart rate. Those with hypertension can experience a decrease in their blood pressure when they cut sugar.
- An excess of added sugar increases fat buildup around the liver, causing insulin resistance that weakens the pancreas. This can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. Weight loss and cutting out sugar can decrease risk, or reverse the effects altogether.
- Although sugar does provide a spike of energy, it is also followed by a crash. The constant “up and down” in mood and energy can cause emotional problems and trouble sleeping. Cutting sugar could help alleviate depression, anxiety and irritability, as well as helping you get a better night’s sleep.
Conclusion from experience
I cut added sugar from my diet for one month. By the end of the month I lost 6 pounds and felt incredible! Yes, the first week is the hardest. The crash is just like coming down from an addiction. I felt sick, sluggish and moody. However, by the end of the week I really felt great. What was more surprising to me was that I did not crave the sweets anymore. Even when presented with something I loved, I found that I was not even tempted by it. It became easier and easier to resist the high sugar foods over time. I had more energy for exercise and slept more soundly. – Brittany King, Office Manager at TimeLess
American Heart Association. Added Sugars. November 2014.
Elyse Powell, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. “U.S. Adult Consumption of Added Sugars Increased by More Than 30% Over Three Decades.” Research Study. 2014. <http://www.obesity.org/news-center/us-adult-consumption-of-added-sugars-increased-by-more-than-30-over-three-decades.htm>.
MSN. “7 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Sugar.” August 2015. MSN Health & Fitness. <http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/7-things-that-happen-when-you-stop-eating-sugar/ar-AAdNkgC#page=1>