Refined Sugar is Everywhere
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) recommends that refined sugar make up no more than 8% of the daily intake of calories or a maximum of 40g refined sugar for every 2000 calories consumed. Most foods have some natural sugars, and if we only consumed whole foods that are fiber-rich and contain simple sugars, we most likely would not have a problem with how much sugar we consume.
The problem with over consumption of sugar however, results from the extensive amounts of refined sugar that has been added to the foods consumed on a daily basis. Almost every product, from spaghetti sauce to bread has enormous amounts of sugar added. You may be surprised to find out how much sugar is added to “healthy” cereals, yogurt and even many baby foods. With the prevalence of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda pop, ice tea, sports/energy drinks, certain fruit juices, and yes, even our favorite latte from Starbucks, the average American has consumed well above the recommended 8% of caloric intake from sugar.
See a visual representation of how much sugar is contained in many of the foods consumed on a daily basis.
Health effects of too much sugar
Scientific evidence is rapidly accumulating regarding the apparent relationship between over-consumption of added/refined sugars, low intakes of dietary fiber and current disease epidemics of the mouth (e.g., tooth decay and early gum disease) and body (e.g., obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, etc.).
Reducing sugar intake
- If you crave sugar it’s almost always a sign that you’re not getting enough protein. Eat lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs and combined veggie proteins and your sugar cravings are likely to diminish.
- Curb your sugar tooth with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables that do not have added refined sugar. You will stay full longer, plus they have numerous other nutrients our bodies need to help fight off disease.
- Chew on a cinnamon stick.
- Don’t eat sugar on an empty stomach – it will cause you to crave sugar throughout the day.
- Cut down on your salt intake: salty foods cause a contraction or tightening of the body’s fluids and tissues, while sweet foods do the exact opposite: They cause the body to expand or relax. If you overinduldge in salty foods, your body usually craves sweet foods as a way to maintain balance.
More on sugar over-consumption
- The Truth About Sugar. Video presentation by Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology
- Get The Sugar Out – by Ann Louise Gittleman, (2008)
- The Sugar Fix: The high-fructose fallout that is making you fat and sick – by Richard Johnson and Timothy Gower, (2009)
- The NDD Book – by Dr. William Sears, (2009)