Sugar has always been made out to be the biggest culprit when it comes to poor health. Heart diseases, increased aging, overweight issues, and even cancer; have all been associated with sugar. Many health experts encourage moderated sugar intake and may in some cases urge patients to remove sugar from their diets completely.
What is Sugar?
Sugar is simply a tasty sweet crystalline substance that helps us to enjoy food more by adding flavor. Glucose, lactose, fructose, sucrose, and maltose are all sugars. Some sugars such as fructose and glucose are produced naturally by fruits, however most of the sugar that we consume from our food today is refined sugar that is high in calories.
Sodas, pastries, chocolate, and most deserts often contain an unhealthy amount of refined sugars. For example, most chocolate bars will contain at least 6 tbsp of sugar while one can of Coca Cola contains about 7 taps of unhealthy sugars.
It is sugar that is consumed from these sources that tends to cause health issues. Back in 2014 a research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that refined sugar is largely linked to heart disease.
In addition to high blood pressure, sugar from these foods is said to be one of the main causes for the obesity epidemic in the United States. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a research in 2013 that also supported the claim that sweetened beverages were one of the main culprits for weight gain among children and adults alike.
Do you have a sugar addiction?
Numerous studies have revealed that there are many people living with a sugar addiction today. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed in a published report that sugar accounts for 13% of the daily calories consumed by adults in the United States between 2005 and 2010. It also revealed that 16% of the daily calories consumed by children and teenagers comes from sugar.
This is significantly higher than the daily calorie consumption recommended by the WHO, which suggests that our daily calorie consumption of sugar should not exceed 10% daily. Ironically a researched published by Professor Wayne Potts, at the University of Utah, has suggested that even this recommended level may be unhealthy.
In 2014 the WHO was left to revise their daily recommended calorie consumption from 10% to 5% due to the large amount of research that was released in opposition.
Should I Remove All Sugars From My Meal?
While there is great deal of research highlighting the negative effect that excess sugar can have on the body, removing all sugars from your diet is often discouraged. Leah Fitzsimmons, a biochemist at the University of Birmingham in England, states that “Cutting all sugar from your diet would be very difficult to achieve. Fruits, vegetables, dairy products and dairy replacements, eggs, alcohol, and nuts, all contain sugar – which would leave you with little other than meat and fats to eat – definitely not very healthy.”
Instead of removing all sugars from your diet many nutritionist and health professionals recommend that it should be taken as part of a balanced diet, since it can also be beneficial to the body.
How Can You Reduce Your Sugar Intake
The American Heart Association has provided some helpful tips that can be useful in helping you to reduce your sugar intake. These include:
Adding less sugar to coffee, tea, pancakes, cereal and other foods.
Replacing artificially sweetened beverages with healthier low calorie choices.
Reading food labels and choosing items with a lower percentage of sugar.
Limit the amount of pastries, cakes, chocolate and other sugary foods you consume daily.
Adding oatmeal and fruits to your breakfast cereal instead of sugar.