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Recent Study: We Eat Too Much Sugar and That Is Bad (What Next?)

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If you crave sugar, this recent story on sugar consumption is going to be dissatisfying.  We all know that too much sugar can lead to obesity and cavities. Recent studies, however,  are also linking the “natural”  sweetener directly to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, liver cirrhosis and dementia, among other chronic health problems, according Laura A. Schmidt, a professor of health policy at the UC San Francisco School of Medicine.

How much is too much sugar? The World Health Organization (WHO), the Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association (AHA) all have recommended daily amounts—and they all differ.   Anywhere from 10% to 25% of your daily calories falls within the suggested limit of how much we can safely consume. The AHA recommends 100 calories a day for women, 150 calories daily for men. We also have to factor into these suggestions the amount of calories consumed on a daily basis.  To maintain a healthy weight, “the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute recommends moderately active females consume between 1,800 and 2,200 per day while moderately active adult men require between 2,200 and 2,800 calories each day.”

Looking at numerous surveys of nutritional intake, the CDC concluded that Americans are eating too much sugar. The CDC researchers then studied 11,733 individuals over a 14-15 year period and found that those who “got more than the recommended amount of calories from added sugar were more likely to die of heart disease, compared to those who typically got less added sugar.” (Reuters Health, 2/3/14)

Added sugar refers to the sugar in processed foods like sugary cereals, fruit drinks, soft drinks, candy, yeast breaks, dairy desserts and grain-based desserts like cakes and cookies. It does not refer to naturally occurring sugar found in fruits and fruit juices. (LA Times, 2/3/14)

This new study provides a more comprehensive overview of the effects of sugar consumption than shown in past studies and it calls for more conscientious eating and grocery shopping. Processed foods are a big part of the problem, compounded by the amount of the sugar we add to our food and drink. Reading food labels will help us detect and calculate the amount of sugar in any given food product. At that point the issue becomes one of changing our habits and our taste buds.

But, as anyone knows who struggles with his or her diet, it simply is not that simple (or easy).  We have dietary recommendations thrown at us daily (seemingly), and as with these new standards, the answer is not always straightforward.   We know that artificial sweeteners are bad for us. Now it is too much sugar.  That pretty much exhausts the options for sweet products.  We seem to be walking an ever thinner (pardon the pun) tightrope. What will tomorrow bring in our never-ending struggle for good health?

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  1. Lee rice says:
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