Do you like the taste of sugar? If you answered ‘no’ to the above question, there’s no need for you to keep reading. Unlike the rest of us, you shouldn’t have any problem avoiding the consumption of sugar and all the diet-related conditions it contributes to, like obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, type-2 diabetes and cancer.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of us can only answer an emphatic ‘yes’ to that question, giving us some cause for concern. Sugar is being placed under increasing scrutiny in the health world as one of the leading culprits of our planet’s ever-spreading obesity epidemic. Some experts have even gone so far as to call sugar and it’s artificial, highly-demonized counterpart high-fructose corn syrup “toxic,” as more and more research is pointing the finger at sugar as being a devil in our diets.
Much Too Much
What’s so bad about sugar? All those delicious, sugar-packed things we enjoy so much, like soda, candy, cakes, cookies, ice cream, energy drinks and those little mints they leave on pillows at classy hotels are chock full of calories but contain almost no nutritional value, causing people to fill up on them in lieu of things that are actually good for them like veggies, fruits and whole grains. In fact, an estimated 16 percent of the total calories consumed in the average American diet comes from sugar. That is a huge fraction considering its nonexistent dietary value.
Though evidence is emerging that eating high levels of sugar can contribute to chronic health problems, some experts warn against demonizing sugar as the sole culprit of America’s dietary woes and insist that it’s the amount of sugar we eat, not sugar itself, that is “toxic.” A more important step in maintaining good health is to try cutting back on sugar while maintaining an otherwise healthy diet. Experts say that the issue in making sugar Public Enemy No. 1 is that it makes people focus too much on lowering sugar, driving them to eat “low-sugar” foods that, despite having little or no sugar, contain other artificial sweeteners and low nutritional value.
Eat Less Sweet
So how much sugar should you be consuming? The recommended amount is 100 calories of added sugar per day for women and 150 for men. That means that if you drink one can of regular soda per day, which contains about 126 calories, you’ve already exceeded or neared your limit for added sugars.
Eliminating soda and other sugary drinks may be the best way to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, but you should also pay close attention to the nutritional labels of every food you buy. Added sugars can slip into more foods than you may realize, and the following may spell trouble if they appear on the ingredients list:
High fructose corn syrup
Lowering your sugar intake, though not the only step in maintaining a healthy diet, is being given increasing importance in staying healthy and avoiding numerous potential health risks. We all love sugar, but managing our consumption of it is a crucial step in sustaining a healthy lifestyle.