The time has come for government to take steps to curb the unhealthy volumes of sugar most Americans are eating on a regular basis, according to researchers. It seems that society must step in because we’re addicted to sugar and we just can’t give it up on our own.
Researchers say that too much added sugar isn’t just troublesome because of the calories; it’s also been associated with health problems that happen in patients of normal weight too. Some of these include
– Hypertension because fructose increases uric acid and this brings up blood pressure.
– Increases in triglycerides
– Liver problems
What’s more, like other addictive substances such as tobacco and alcohol, sugar has lots of potential for abuse… acting on the brain and encouraging future intake.
Understand that we’re talking about added sugar here, not the natural sugar that’s part of milk, fresh fruits and veggies or some grains.
Added sugar is considered to be any sweetener that has the molecule fructose and is added to food during processing. And some experts suggest similar measures to what is done today for alcohol and tobacco. Taxing sugary foods, limit how available they are, set a minimum age limit for buying sugared drinks and other foodstuffs.
The FDA could aid the cause by taking fructose off the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list since this lets food makers add it without review or approval.
Listing the added sugars on food labels would also be a good idea. Today total sugars are mentioned, but there’s no breakdown on what’s natural and what’s been added.
As a guide for your added sugar intake, men should have no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar per day, women no more than 6 teaspoons according to recommendations from the AHA (American Heart Association).
If you think these numbers sound small, they are. A 12-ounce soda has 8 teaspoons of sugar. The average U.S. intake is a staggering 22 teaspoons each day. Some people take in enough sugar to be half the daily calories needed to maintain their weight.
The sugar industry, predictably, insists that when you look at all the research, no expert is saying that sugar causes any disease, even obesity. They believe the research piece is both non scientific and irresponsible because it instills fears. They feel that the American public is able to make its own choices, without regulation or bans.
However, it doesn’t take a scientist to see that we would be better off if we took in less added sugar, and it’s hard to eat a balanced diet when you’re taking in high amounts of sugars.
As the FDA is not looking at changing the status of fructose. The added sugars they suggest you look for include:
– Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup
– Fruit juice concentrate
– Maple syrup
You might also want to cut back on, or remove any sugared drinks (regular soda, lemonade, iced teas and sports drinks) you enjoy to keep your added sugar intake as low as you can. You’ll also want to limit your use of artificial sweeteners and fast food to reduce your chances of being addicted to sugar.