It's a staple in kitchens, restaurants, and certainly in bakeries. However, it turns out that for some, a love affair with sugar could end on a sour note.
"I had some health issues, and it ended up being sugar that was triggering these headaches I was having," said Laura Marin, author of The Green Market baking book.
Experts say added sugars can increase inflammation in blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Some studies suggest high sugar intake can lead to depression. Sugar can change the structure of collagen in the skin which can leave wrinkles.
"It's amazing how quickly you can see some of the damage from the added sugars. You can literally see changes within an hour on an ultrasound of how this negatively impacts your cells," explained Registered Dietitian Amy Jamieson-Petonic, Med, RD, CSSD, LD.
Jamieson-Petonic says the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day.
"There's a lot of hidden sugars that people might not be aware of," she said.
Sugar is hiding in places like tomato sauce, ketchup, barbeque sauce and salad dressing. While these products may not seem too sweet, they can be loaded with sugar.
Skip the soda because it probably has about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Instead, try drinking sparkling water with a splash of juice. Eat whole foods, that aren't processed. Try to sweeten foods naturally with spices like coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
If you cut out hidden sugar from your diet, then splurge on a treat, you won't derail your entire diet.
Federal guidelines offer limits for the amount of salt and fat that Americans take in. However there is no similar guideline for sugar. The American Heart Association recommends women consume less than 6 teaspoons of added sugar each day and men consume less than 9.
Sugars can be found in many foods, and often people don't even realize it's there. Many foods have sugar in them naturally. For example, fruit contains fructose, and milk contains lactose. Both of these are natural sugars. However many foods have added sugars, which are much worse for you. These sugars or syrups are often put into foods while being prepared, processed, or even added individually. The obvious foods that are high in sugar are foods like cakes, candies, cookies, pies, ice cream, cereals and sweetened yogurts, and in drinks like sodas, fruit punches, energy drinks and sports drinks. Sugar needs to be regulated because it isn't something out body needs to function. There are zero nutrients in sugar, and it just adds unnecessary calories that can often lead to weight gain.
THE HIDDEN NAMES OF SUGAR: Sugar is hard to find on nutrition labels often times because it has many different names. Any word in the ingredients list, that ends in "ose," for example glucose, is a type of sugar. However many other names for it include molasses, corn syrup, corn sweetener, honey concentrate, fruit juice concentrate, cane sugar and raw sugar. These are seen on many ingredient labels in food consumed every day, and most people don't even realize that all of those are another word for sugar.
SUGARS AND HEART DISEASE: Too much added sugar in your diet has the potential of tremendously increasing your risk of dying from heart disease. According to a study in JAMA, people who receive 17-21% of their calories from sugar have a 38% higher risk of dying from heart disease compared to those who only get 8% of their calories from sugar. The higher the sugar intake the higher the risk is. A study in the United States showed that on average Americans have about 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories a day of sugar for women, and no more than 9 teaspoons or 150 calories a day of sugar for men to stay healthy. Another concern is that children today are consuming more than 28 percent more sugar than they did 16 years ago, and this rate is continuing to increase.(Source: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Added-Sugars-Add-to-Your-Risk-of-Dying-from-Heart-Disease_UCM_460319_Article.jsp and Beat Sugar Addiction Now! For Kids by Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., and Deborah Kennedy, PH.D.)
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