Quitting Sugar for a Sweeter Life

Sugar is hiding in many of our foods — breads, cereals, condiments, soft drinks. In fact, there are over 40 varieties of sugars in our foods. Consequently, Americans are eating 50% more sugar today than in the 1970s (and we have seen our obesity rates explode during this same time period).

Most Americans consume, on average, 22 tsp of sugar daily, far above the American Heart Association’s recommendation (no more than 6 tsp per day for women and no more than 9 tsp per day for men). Here are five more reasons to limit your added sugar intake.

  • Sugar has no nutritional value. Limiting added sugar and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will help improve your overall nutrient intake and reduce your intake of excess calories, thus helping you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Too much sugar can adversely affect your health. High sugar consumption has been linked to diabetes, high cholesterol, weight gain and obesity. Numerous studies have found that high sugar intake, particularly of the refined white sugar often found in processed foods, can lead to insulin resistance, making it a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. According to a study published in Diabetologia, drinking just one 12-oz soda a day can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 22%.
  • Sugar can be addictive. Just like caffeine, our bodies can crave the feeling we get from consuming sugary foods and beverages. Are you addicted to sugar? You may be if you binge on sugary foods, even when you’re not hungry. Or if you have physical symptoms (nervous, shaky, cold sweats, irritable, headaches) when you don’t get your sugar fix.
  • Sugar affects your memory. Science Daily reports that, over time, a steady diet of sugar slows your brain, inhibits your learning, and affects your memory.
  • Sugar is bad on your smile. Brushing, flossing and seeing the dentist regularly are important to oral health, but diet also plays a big role. Sugar acts like an acid dissolving the enamel on teeth. The naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth also use sugar as energy to multiply and stick themselves to the surface of a tooth. Over time, this turns into plaque. Tiny holes will eventually be made in the enamel. These are cavities.