Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You’re Sweet Enough

You are sweet enough. I hope you know this, because I’d like to see you avoid the 400 calories worth of added sugars the average American consumes each day. When you consider that it takes 3500 extra calories to gain a pound, it’s easy to see why so many people are overweight today. Besides the toll sugar takes on the waistline and teeth, sugar in its various forms causes the following concerns for health experts: it raises triglycerides, increasing the risk of heart attack; it might boost visceral fat, deep abdominal fat linked to a higher risk of heart disease; it raises the risk of gout and high blood pressure; it could promote overeating; and it’s generally found in foods of little nutritional value – junk food (Nutrition Action Health Letter, Jan./Feb. 2010).

To be fair, there are a couple of common myths about sugar that are not supported by research. First is that sugar causes diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, it does not. It does contribute to obesity and overweight, and these are very much linked to diabetes, however. Second, there is no scientific evidence that sugary foods cause hyperactivity. Health experts believe that it’s the events where sugar is consumed in large quantities, such as birthday parties, that promote the high energy.

It’s not realistic to eliminate all sugar from your diet since some occurs naturally in foods and food labels don’t distinguish naturally occurring sugar from added sugar. If you’d like to reduce your sugar consumption, or at least be more aware of it, watch for these ingredients on food labels: dextrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, fruit juice concentrate, malt syrup, molasses, invert sugar, honey, sorghum, and cane sugar (Environmental Nutrition, March 2010). Don’t be fooled into thinking that some of these are better for you than others – they’re not. Added sugars are added sugars.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment.