The Dangers of Sugar
Find out the truth about your favorite sweet treats!
Pouring cream in coffee. Dropping a spoonful of sugar in tea. Heading for the Big Gulp at the gas station. Grabbing a doughnut for a quick breakfast on the way to school. What do all of these have in common? These are all ways Americans consume sugar-a dangerous and eventually toxic substance.
In fact, Americans consume at least nineteen teaspoons of sugar daily, while the maximum recommended daily intake is nine teaspoons. Sugary drinks such as coffee, soda, energy drinks, and fruit juice pose as the biggest threat toward one’s health, as one can of soda alone contains 12 teaspoons of sugar. Other foods like frozen yogurt, prepackaged cereal, pastries, and candy also contain an extensive amount of sugars that increase one’s daily intake of sugar.
These types of sugary foods and drinks contain what nutritionists call “empty calories.” Empty calories are essentially calories that do not have any nutritional content, like fiber or protein, to sustain one’s wellbeing. According to a Harvard health source, these empty calories found in sugary foods can prevent a person’s consumption of healthier and more nutritious foods.
Furthermore, a high intake of sugar is linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay, and diabetes. Research has shown that sugary diets with sweet drinks can cause a rise in blood pressure, thus increasing the risk of a deadly, cardiovascular disease. A high sugar intake also promotes the increased consumption of unhealthy foods, leading to obesity; obesity can pave the way for Type 2 diabetes later in life. Additionally, the risk of tooth decay also increases in correlation with sugar because sugar strips away the protective tooth enamel. However, these risks can be prevented.
The American Heart Association suggests a daily sugar intake of nine teaspoons for men and six teaspoons for women. For those who are currently overweight, sugar consumption should be limited to only one day per week, or they should be cut out completely.
Tips for limiting sugar intake:
- Consume daily sugar intake via colorful fruits- these not only satisfy sugar cravings, but they also contain important vitamins, like Vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system.
- Learn to read food labels- check the sugar and fat content before consuming.
- Let the lifestyle determine the diet-those who are more physically active burn a lot of energy, so they require more to fuel their lifestyle.
- Eat more protein- proteins stimulate the feeling of being full and reduce sugar cravings. Protein rich foods include almonds, string cheese, and peanut butter.