Let’s face it. Sugar tastes good, and for a little while it might make us feel better, until the crash comes and we are left feeling tired and lifeless. It is estimated that Americans consume 130 pounds of sugar per person a year, which is about a third of a pound of sugar a day.
We consume it in all the obvious places, like candy, cookies, pastries, and ice cream, but sugar, made of glucose and fructose, can sneak into our diets under the guise of foods we may not suspect, like crackers, processed foods, peanut butter, yogurt, sauces, and bread, many of which use high-fructose corn syrup, a man-made sweetener equally as toxic as sugar when consumed in large volumes.
Recent medical research concludes that the consumption of added sugar in our diet has plunged America into a public health crisis. Sugar can be directly linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Children are becoming obese and diabetic and at an earlier age, and sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, more than any other substances, are to blame.
While the facts are sobering, the good news is that the majority of these illnesses are preventable.
“The first step is to become more mindful before we reach for the next soda, cookie, or piece of cake,” says Geza Bruckner, director of Clinical Nutrition at the UK College of Health Science. “Paying attention to the sugar content on nutrition labels and making healthy choices for both adults and children are the first steps to better health.”
Read the label for added sugar if you wish to limit sugar, or avoid such foods as these:
• Regular sodas (Coke, Pepsi), 136 added sugar calories/12 fl. oz.
• Juice cocktails Capri-Sun, Tropicana Orange Ade, 85 added sugar calories/8 fl. oz.
• 100% Natural Wholegrain Cereal with raisins, low fat, 81 added sugar calories/cup
• Yogurt, fruit and nuts, low fat, 89 calories added sugar/6 oz.
• Ice cream, fat-free, chocolate, 83 calories added sugar/medium scoop