Americans Have a “Sweet” Tooth, I is Killing Them
Americans have a “sweet tooth” and it’s killing them. The over consumption of sugar has been linked to a variety of chronic health problems such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
It is almost impossible for Americans to avoid sweet stuff because their food is loaded with it. Sugar is not only in sweets but also in fruit, vegetables, and everyday staples such as bread, pasta, and ketchup. And the worst are the wide array of sodas, designer coffees, fruit punches, and other sugar-laden drinks.
As a nation it is consuming too much sugar, much of it through sweetened beverages, all have added calories without any added nutrition.
The US federal government updated its food labeling laws in May, requiring for the 1st time that nutrition labels list a breakdown of both the total sugars and the added sugars in packaged foods, beginning in Y 2018.
The human body turns sugar into glucose, which fuels the brain, muscles and metabolism. But when it it not all burned off, it is stored as unhealthy fat.
The latest research shows that all sugars are basically the same, whether they come from fruit or candy or the sugar bowl. Something that I learned 30 years ago.
But nutritionists are quick note that eating naturally sweet foods, such as fruit, is a better option than loading up on processed cakes, cookies, and pastries.
The body cannot tell the difference between glucose, fructose, lactose and added sugar, it processes it all in the same way.
Still, there’s a big difference in how the sugar is packaged.
American consumers do not generally worry about natural sugar, like you find in fresh fruit, because the believe they are getting other compounds that are good for them.notes
Fruit is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Fiber has a beneficial effect because it changes the pace at which sugars are processed.
Fiber slows down the digestion of carbohydrates, so it has a buffer effect on blood sugar rise. That is why people do not get the same blood sugar spike from an apple that they get from a soft drink.
Fiber is also satiating, one feels fuller when a piece of fruit is consumed, as opposed to sugary junk food, snacks or drinks.
Studies going back more than 40 years show that the natural sugars in fruits do not promote weight gain. The research suggests that eating fresh fruit decreases the risk of obesity and diabetes. And when people cut back on fruit consumption, it does not dramatically affect their blood sugar or weight.
People who eat a lot of fruit and vegetables are healthier than those who do not.
Experts say that people should limit their consumption of products with added sugars, which include the ubiquitous high-fructose corn syrup. And natural sweeteners such as honey and agave are not much better.
The fact is that agave has more fructose than high-fructose corn syrup. And honey, though it has a health halo, has the same amount of sugar with just a bit of nutrition.
The Big Q: What about artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet), saccharin (Sweet’N Low) and sucralose (Splenda), which sweeten without calories?
The big A: There are unproven fears that the chemicals in these products may contribute to chronic diseases including cancer, but the US Food and Drug Administration insists they are safe.
But hang on, if you know over consumption of sugar is killing you, why eat it?
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively