It’s probably safe to say that well over 80% of the products found on the shelves of your favorite grocery store contain sugar in some form of fashion. Pick a store and go down any aisle, and I challenge you to find items that DON’T contain sugar. What’s crazy is that you can’t rely on what the front of the package/bottle says? You can show me any product from any aisle that says it’s “Sugar-Free” on the front, and I can properly find its true sugar content “hidden” in the ingredients list. Furthermore, the average person isn’t aware that there over 75 different names for sugar with high fructose corn syrup (HFSP) being the most popular version here in the Americas. But even if the packaging says “No HFSP”, does that really mean it’s sugar-free?!? The resonating answer is NO!!!
How Much is Too Much?
Back in late 2020, my nutritional curriculum via the Holistic Wellness Pathway, required watching the 2014 documentary entitled Fed Up (you can watch it here for free). Let’s do some math. Per my professor, Dr. Rose, there are two teaspoons of sugar (glucose) in the blood at any given time.
- 1 teaspoon (tsp) of sugar = 4.2 grams but it’s often rounded to 4
- 6-9 teaspoons/day is the added sugar daily average recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA)
- Average daily sugar intake: 40+ TEASPOONS PER DAY 😲
What is Sugar?
Per the Oxford Dictionaries, sugar is “a sweet crystalline substance obtained from various plants, especially sugar cane and sugar beet, consisting essentially of sucrose, and used as a sweetener in food and drink.” Per this example, sugar is considered artificial or added sugar like HFCS. However, sugar can also be naturally occurring. For example: In fruits, it’s called fructose and in milk, it’s lactose. Therefore, added sugars are what’s typically added to packaged food and bottles.
Per the AHA, “our bodies don’t need sugar to function properly. Added sugars contribute ZERO NUTRIENTS but many added calories that can lead to extra pounds or even obesity, thereby reducing heart health.” (emphasis added). Typically, added sugars are what’s listed on nutritional labels while naturally occurring sugar (or fructose) is not. Ever seen a piece of fruit that had a nutritional label? 🤷♀️ Simply, excessive sugar turns off our body’s ability to remain healthy within 30 minutes of consumption lasting for five or more hours.
So What’s The Harm?
In all actuality, our daily sugar intake – for those who love to count calories – should be >=10% of all total calories. However, when that was initially suggested by the World Health Organization, the food industry pushed back and the percentage was increased by 2.5% = 10% x 2.5% = 25%). As a result, the original WHO report was altered to reflect 25%. In the 2002 Technical Report by the World Health Organization’s TRS Series #916, sugar is identified as “a major if not the cause of chronic metabolic disease and obesity.” Aside from obesity, sugar has been linked to Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, dental disease, osteoporosis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). A few signs of metabolic syndrome leading to long-term illnesses are tired and lethargic, inability to concentrate, apathy/indifference, headaches, and always hungry.
…America is still insufficiently alert to the damage we are doing long-term to our collective health by too much sugar intake.” ~Fed Up Documentary (2014)
Fully knowing this, the food industry continues to be all about “cheap, processed, sugar-laden products” backed by government policies as set forth by the US Department of Agriculture. In other words, the government and the food industry are working hand in hand to keep us sick. Add to that the medical industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and health insurance companies – all of which are profiting off of our ill-health.
Did you know “health insurance companies buy stock in fast food companies”? Yes, because it’s quick and cheap but minus any nutrients which support our health. Meanwhile, fast food companies are working to gain access to children – for long-term ill-health benefits – by incorporating their restaurant chains right inside of the modern school cafeteria. As the documentary points out, even “children are being fed addiction and disease.” Overall, “the deck is stated against eating healthy.” Ultimately, these industries are “in business to make money not to keep American healthy.” Fed Up concludes by acknowledging that “By 2050, one in three Americans will have diabetes.” Why? – Because at least 75% of the American budget is contributing to chronic metabolic disease.
Suggestions for Reducing Your Sugar Intake:
Here are a few simple guidelines for developing healthier eating habits:
- Shop around the edges and avoid the aisles.
- Buy foods with the fewest ingredients and with ingredients that you recognize
- Avoid sugar and trans fat as much as possible.
- If it looks like it does in nature, it is probably safe.
- Buy (and eat) many different colors of fruits and veggies.