The American Heart Association (AHA) has published a set of guidelines related to sugar consumption. They address the amount of added sugar to America’s diet. Currently, the average American diet consists of nearly 22 tsp of added sugar per day, roughly 355 calories. The AHA guidelines suggest that women not consume more than 6 tsp (approx. 25 grams and 100 calories) of added sugar per day while men not consume more than 9 tsp (approx. 37.5 grams and 150 calories).
While most people are familiar with added sugar as the white table sugar (sucrose) that gets scooped into coffee, one problem with adherence to these guidelines is the lack of general knowledge about what else constitutes “added sugar.” Some of the common added sugars include: corn syrup, dextrose, corn sweetener, maltose, malt syrup, glucose, molasses, sucrose, syrup, and high fructose corn syrup. These ingredients are commonly found in candies, cakes, cookies, and soft drinks. Other sugars, the naturally occurring ones such as fructose and lactose, can be found in fruit and dairy products. Watch the quick video below.
Sugar can be linked to heart disease. “Although added sugar is not directly linked to heart disease, it is associated with risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides, and high levels of C-reactive protein, which has been linked to oxidative stress and inflammation,” said Linda Van Horn, a registered dietitian and chair of the AHA’s Nutrition Committee. When you compare common foods containing added sugar with naturally occurring sugary foods such as fruits or dairy products, the nutritional value of those latter foods is evident in the fact that they contain calcium, protein, vitamin D, and phytonutrients.
Sugar is a primary preservative and can be found in surprising quantities in what most would presume are non-sugary foods. For instance, most packages of macaroni and cheese contain more than 15% sugar, which explains why it can stay on the shelf for two years and still be edible and why kids like it. Simple sugars combine with processed carbs encourage hyperinsulinemia which is associated with fat storage and increased risk for obesity and then consequently diabetes.
40 Negative Effects of Sugar:
1. Sugar can suppress the immune system.
2. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.
3. Sugar produces a rise in triglycerides, a leading cause of heart disease.
4. Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection.
5. Sugar can cause kidney damage.
6. Sugar reduces high density lipoproteins (good cholesterol).
7. Sugar leads to cancer of the breast, ovaries, intestines, prostate and rectum.
8. Sugar consumption is the top cause of type II diabetes, as it increases levels of glucose and insulin.
9. Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
10. Sugar weakens eyesight and can cause cataracts.
11. Sugar can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).
12. Sugar can produce an acidic stomach.
13. Sugar malabsorption is frequent in patients with functional bowel disease.
14. Sugar consumption can cause aging.
15. Sugar consumption is the top cause of tooth decay.
16. Sugar use cause overeating and therefore contributes to obesity.
17. High intake increases risk of Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.
18. Sugar can cause changes associated with gastric or duodenal ulcers.
19. Sugar can cause arthritis.
20. Sugar can cause asthma.
21. Sugar can cause yeast infections.
22. Sugar can cause gallstones to form.
23. Sugar can cause appendicitis.
24. Sugar can cause multiple sclerosis.
25. Sugar can cause hemorrhoids.
26. Sugar can cause varicose veins.
27. Sugar can elevate glucose and insulin responses in oral contraceptive users.
28. Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.
29. Sugar can cause periodontal disease and contributes to saliva acidity.
30. Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
31. Sugar can decrease growth hormone.
32. Sugar can increase the systolic blood pressure.
33. Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.
34. Sugar can cause migraine headaches.
35. Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein.
36. Sugar causes food allergies.
37. Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
38. Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.
39. Sugar can cause emphysema.
40. Sugar can promote an elevation of low density proteins (LDL).