Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why Sugar is Not So Sweet

What is Sugar Really?

Sugar is all around us and it can be a challenge to keep track of exactly how much we are consuming. Although sugar can be found naturally in some foods (i.e. milk or fruit), the majority of it in the American diet comes from sugar added during food processing. Sugar comes in many different forms such as: sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, mannitol, sorbitol, erythritol, dextrose, invert sugar, agave nectar, glucose, lactose, maltose, maple sugar, and molasses. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, each teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories and the American Heart Association recommends that sugar consumption be limited to 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories per day for men.

Soda, Pop, Coke: Drinking Sugar across the Nation

        Some beverages do not need sugar to be sweet; soft drinks are not one of them. Known as one of the most commonly consumed drinks, soft drinks rein as supreme beverage. From coast to coast, soft drinks are labeled with different terminology but are categorized by diet experts as “sugar-sweetened refreshments”. Are these caffeinated drinks really all that bad? The answer is yes. No matter what you call them, soft drinks contain more sugar than the body needs without supplying any real nutritional value. What soft drinks do offer is an increased waistline, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Surely this is only the case if you drink an extremely large amount. This is not so. In fact, it only takes two sugary beverages a day to develop one of these diseases.

How Sugar-Sweetened Refreshments Kill

          From data collected in a 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, it was found that sugar-sweetened beverages were associated with 180,000 deaths. Out of those deaths 133,000 were from diabetes, 44,000 from cardiovascular diseases, and 6,000 from cancer-related deaths. Women also have a greater chance of contracting these diseases due to their lower calorie intake. The American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2011 shared information that women who consume two sugar-based beverages a day are four times as likely to develop diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer. So do yourself a favor and step back from the sugar-filled death weapon.

For more information on how to be heart healthy, check out these sites:

The American Heart Association

The National Institutes of Health

You might also enjoy:
Go Red Interviews with MaryJo Frederick and Dr. Roger Shipley

Creating a Heart Healthy Diet
Ways to Incorporate Heart Healthy Exercise into Your Life


American Heart Association (On Soft Drinks and Heart Disease)

National Institutes of Health (On Soft Drinks)

National Institutes of Health (On Sugar)


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