Is Added Sugar Killing You?

healthy tips nutrition Nov 06, 2023

Is Added Sugar Killing You?

What is “added sugar?” Added sugar is sugar that food companies add to their products to increase the flavor and/or extend the shelf life. Added sugar can be found on the food label under names like corn sweetener, corn syrup, invert sugar, fruit juice concentrate, honey, malt sugar and molasses.

In the “Standard American Diet” (SAD), the top sources of added sugar include: soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, salad dressing, cereals, cookies, cakes, ice cream and most processed foods. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. You can also find added sugar in food items such as ketchup, peanut butter, soups, cured meats, etc. 

In the United States, the “average” adult consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day.  This is a lot considering The American Heart Association’s recommendations for added sugar are no more than 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men.

Why Does Is Matter?

Consuming too much added sugar can increase blood pressure, chronic inflammation, weight gain and blood sugar. This leads to the development of chronic disease states, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. As if that isn’t enough, too much added sugar has also been associated with the development of fatty liver, kidney disease, acne, depression, accelerated aging of the skin, increased cellular aging, poor dental health, increased risk of developing gout and accelerated cognitive decline. As a matter of fact, research has shown that the higher the intake of added sugar, the greater the risk of dying from heart disease.

So, it is a big deal!

How can you decrease the amount of “added” sugar in your diet?

Here are a few ways to limit the amount of sugar you consume per day.

  1. Swap out soda for water flavored with a squeeze of lemon or lime. You can also get flavored, carbonated waters that use natural flavors and have no added sugars.
  2. Choose food items/snacks/granola with 4 grams of sugar or less per serving.
  3. Sweeten plain yogurt with fresh berries or frozen berries.
  4. Use extra virgin olive oil and vinegar in place of store-bought salad dressings.
  5. Replace cereals with rolled oats and add nut butter and berries, or an omelet with fresh greens.
  6. Avoid alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soda, juice, honey, sugar or agave.
  7. Choose condiments and marinades that have “no added sugar.”
  8. Include natural sweeteners like monk fruit or stevia.
  9. Drink coffee and/or tea without added sugars; opt for spices such as cinnamon, ginger, allspice or nutmeg for flavor.
  10. Shop the outer aisles of the store, focusing on fresh, whole foods.

 Of course, you should allow yourself to have a sweet treat every now and then. But limiting the amount of added sugar you consume on a daily basis will help you live a healthier, longer life.


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