Sugar has an ambiguous relationship to our health. Naturally occurring in all foods that contain starches like fruits and vegetables, grains and dairy, sugar can be found everywhere from plant food varieties (which offer fiber, essential minerals and cancer protection agents) to dairy sources that supply protein and calcium. Consuming any foods with normal levels of sugar should not cause concern – instead enjoy these treats that come packed full of goodness!
Since your body digests these food varieties slowly, their sugar provides steady energy to your cells. Furthermore, an increase in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has been demonstrated to decrease risk factors like diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Consuming An Excessive Amount Of Sugar
An excess of added sugars – that is, sugar added by food manufacturers for flavor or shelf life reasons – can create issues.
American diets contain many sources of added sugars. These include sodas, fruit-flavored drinks, yogurt-based products with added fruit flavors, grains, cakes and candy as well as processed food sources like sodas. But added sugar is also found in unexpected places, like soups, bread, meat restoration products and ketchup.
Consequentially, we consume too much added sugar. Adult men typically consume 24 teaspoons per day of added sugar according to the Public Malignant Growth Foundation; that amounts to an intake of 384 calories each day.
“Overeating sugar has long been associated with obesity and diabetes. What may surprise many men is how their love for sweet treats could actually impede heart health, according to Dr. Forthright Hu of Harvard T.H. Chan School of General Health.”
Impact On Your Heart
Dr. Hu and his partners published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medication an analysis demonstrating a connection between high sugar diets and increased heart disease mortality risk, specifically over 15 years of study participants consuming 17%-21% of their caloric intake as added sugar had 38% greater risks compared with those who consumed only 8% as added sugars.
“Essentially, the more added sugar we consume, the higher our risk for cardiovascular disease,” states Dr. Hu.
What the impact of sugar has on heart health remains elusive, though its side-effects appear clear. High amounts of sugar strain your liver, as it uses it similarly to alcohol in breaking down carbohydrates to fat for storage – an action which leads to an accumulation of fat that increases diabetes risks, potentially raising your chances for heart disease as a result.
An excess of added sugars can raise pulse rates and contribute to chronic aggravation, two main indicators of heart disease. An excessive use of added sugars – particularly through sweet drinks – also plays an active role in weight gain by deceiving your body into turning off its appetite-control mechanism since liquid calories don’t satisfy as completely as solid foods do, making it easier for individuals to add additional calories into their daily eating plan through sugary refreshments.
“Additional sugar consumption – associated with greater hypertension, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes and fatty liver disease as well as an increased risk for heart attacks and stroke,” according to Dr. Hu.
How Much Is Alright?
How Much Sugar Should Be Included Daily If 24 teaspoons of added sugar each day is too much for your daily eating needs, what would be an acceptable amount? Unfortunately it’s hard to pinpoint as sugar is certainly not essential in our diets and the Institute of Medication has not provided an RDA number that covers sugar consumption.
However, according to the American Heart Affiliation’s recommendations, women should consume approximately 100 calories (6 teaspoons or 24 grams) of added sugar daily and men 150 (roughly 9 teaspoons or 36 grams), which approximates an amount found in one 12-ounce bottle of soda pop.
Deducting Added Sugar
Reading food labels is one of the best ways to monitor your intake of added sugars. Look out for any labels mentioning “added sugar”, then seek to either avoid or cut back on products where such ingredients can be found:
Earthy colored sugar, corn sugar syrup and natural product juice concentrates.
High fructose corn syrup, honey, rearrange sugars (malt sugar, malt sugars, maltose sugar) molasses and syrup contain sugar atoms which end in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose maltose and sucrose).
Absolute sugar (including added sugars ) is typically measured in grams. Note the grams per filling as well as total servings – even though 5 grams might seem like a low figure for each filling in, “this could easily add up to 20 grams and an abundance of added sugar,” states Dr. Hu.
Consider monitoring how much sugar you add to your food or refreshments. A recent review published in General Health found that over 66% of espresso consumers and 33% of tea consumers included sugar or sweet flavorings in their beverages; over 60% of calories in refreshments came from added sugars.
Dr. Hu cautions against being overzealous with efforts to decrease added sugar, as this could backfire. Instead, you could end up turning to various food varieties to satisfy your sweet cravings, including refined starches such as white bread and rice which raise glucose levels; and solace food with high amounts of saturated fat and sodium which cause problems for heart health, as he suggests.