Obesity rates are on the rise and American health is on the decline. It’s not the fat in our diet it’s the sugar. For the average diet 25 grams of sugar is the recommended daily limit for added sugar yet Americans consume 126 grams of sugar each day. That’s the equivalent of 32 teaspoons. That means the average American is eating 146 pounds a year!
That sounds even higher when you know that in the early 1900’s the average FAMILY consumed 5 pounds. So, the average modern-day person is eating nearly 30 times the amount of sugar a whole family did 100 years ago. No wonder we are getting fatter and feel like crap.
But you don’t eat sugar? You might be surprised how it sneaks into your diet. No Doc, I’m a certified crunchy that makes all my family’s food at home. That means someone you know might be eating twice that amount of sugar. Read more to see how that sugar impacts Americans.
But Doesn’t Our Body Need Sugar?
Doesn’t our body need sugar? There is always someone who asks. And it’s true- we do need sugar. Sugar itself is a simple carbohydrate. Our body needs it to operate. Every cell in our body needs sugar to operate. We need it to create energy and it can even help brain function.
In fact, there are eight types of sugar that are essential.
- Glucose- Found in fruits, vegetables, rice, and potatoes.
- Xylose- Found in kelp, berries, aloe vera, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, and more.
- Galactose- Found in cheese, milk, legumes, chickpeas, and fermented soy.
- Fructose- Found in fruits and honey.
- Mannose- Found in peaches, pineapple, apples, cranberries, oranges, and blueberries.
- N-Acetylgalactosamine- Found in bovine cartilage, shark cartilage, a red algae called dumontiaceae.
- N-Acetylglucosamine- Found in shiitake mushrooms and bovine cartilage.
- and N-Acetylneuraminic- Found in dairy foods, whey protein isolate and the eggs of hens.
These are examples of essential sugars that our body does not make. We must eat them! So yes, there is that. People do need sugar but it’s not the end of the story.
The problem is the essential sugars can be found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables but most of our sugar consumption is coming from added sugars. These “simple sugars” break down quickly and provide a very quick increase in blood sugar. The natural, healthy sugars listed above have been over-processed and altered so that they’re not what they were originally intended to be, and our body rejects them.
What Does Added Sugars Leave Us With? Sugar Damage
- We all know it is bad for our teeth. 92% of adults in U.S. have experienced tooth decay compared to 2% of Nigerians who have low sugar diets. (1)
- Sugar makes us fat. Does this need explanation when we eat 146 pounds of it a year?
- It is an inflammatory food. Inflammation causes leaky gut which leads to numerous other conditions.
- Sugar is an anti-nutrient. Offering no significant amounts of vitamins or minerals while robbing your body of precious nutrient stores.
- More than 100 million American adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes. (2)
- Sugar promotes yeast growth.
- Studies show increased sugar consumption increases your chance of cancer. Cancer loves sugar as much as we do. Cancerous cells can take in 10 times more glucose than healthy cells. The more glucose you take in the more you feed cancerous cells! (3)
- It does all this and studies show its addictive. (4) Sugar can be more addictive and rewarding than cocaine which is why many people have a hard time stopping themselves from indulging in high sugar foods. (5)
How do you break the sugar addiction? Simple sugars have simple answers- cut them out. Cutting out soda is a good start. A 20-ounce bottle of soda has 16 teaspoons of sugar! Seems like a no-brainer to cut out the sugar. But again….there is more to the story.
2/3 of the average sugar consumption comes from other sources so it’s also sneaking into our diets by way of:
- salad dressing
- beef sticks
- canned foods
- pasta sauces
- fruit drinks
- luncheon meats
- and other processed foods
What can you do?
Remove processed foods from your diet. Processed foods are loaded with sugars. It’s what makes all those chemicals and additives taste good. If we want to reduce our sugar consumption the easiest way to do it is return to whole foods and cook those foods at home. Even those organic, “healthy” foods in a box are loaded with sugar and as you can see there is nothing healthy about that.
Watch labels to avoid ingredients like these:
- Corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup
- Evaporated corn sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- And sugar cane
Replace added sugars with non-inflammatory sugars used in moderation
- Raw Honey
- Maple Syrup
- Yacon Syrup
- Coconut Palm Sugar
Sugar is killing us with inflammation, obesity and declining health. It has become more of a staple in our food and in our diet. We do have control of its deathly grasp once we know how to get it out of foods we eat regularly. Get it out of your diet and your family’s. Sugar’s sweet taste isn’t worth the bitter aftertaste.
All this doesn’t mean you have to give up sugar. Learn more about our favorite sweetener, Xylitol, and download our FREE healthy desserts book.