Why You Should Reduce Your Sugar Intake | Revere Health

Why You Should Reduce Your Sugar Intake

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most of the sugar we consume is in processed and restaurant foods. The CDC and the American Heart Association’s current guidelines on added sugar intake are:

Women: 100 calories (about 6 tsp/24 grams of sugar) per day

Men: 150 calories (about 9 tsp/36 grams of sugar) per day

Despite the guidelines, many Americans exceed the recommended amount. The increase of sugar in many of our foods have medical experts concerned. Dr. Arash Tirandaz from the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano, advises his patients that decreasing their sugar intake can lead to drastic improvement in their health. He says, “Too much sugar can cause insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes.”

Paul Breslin, a geneticist/biologist at the State University of New Jersey, says that sugar is hard to shake because it behaves like a narcotic. “Ultimately whatever you eat ends up in your blood, and our body wants the blood levels for everything—from carbon dioxide to oxygen to salt and potassium and lipids and glucose—to be constant.”

In the March-April issue of Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases journal, one study reported that added sugar intake may pose a greater risk of heart disease than saturated fat. Dr. James J. DiNicolantonio, of Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and co-author of the study, said, “After a thorough analysis of the evidence, it seems appropriate to recommend dietary guidelines shift focus away from recommendations to reduce saturated fat and towards recommendations to avoid added sugars.” High-sugar diets can increase the risk of heart disease and other issues such as elevated levels of glucose and uric acid, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, leptin resistance, and altered platelet function.

Sugar Sells

Sugar makes popular food and drinks more appealing—or rather more addictive—and many people may not realize just how much sugar is in these products. Product labels are designed to sell. Many products use colorful and highlighted words such as “natural,” “10 percent more,” “now with more fiber,” “low-fat” and “fat-free”; but what they’re not telling you in most cases is that they have increased other areas—like sugar—to bring back flavor that was lost. Sugar comes in many different forms, with many different names, so be wary when you shop for food if you are trying to reduce your sugar intake. 

Examples include:

  • Agave nectar
  • Brown sugar
  • Cane crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Crystalline fructose
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Sucrose

Tips for Reducing Sugar

  1. Drink water instead of sugary sodas, sports drinks and blended coffee beverages.
  2. If you drink fruit juice, make sure it’s 100 percent fruit juice (no added sugar). Or simply eat the fruit instead of drinking the juice.
  3. Skip non-nutritious cereals (like sugary/frosted) and remember: cereals that seem healthy also can contain added sugar.
  4. Buy reduced-sugar options of syrups, jams/jellies and preserves. Also, watch out for condiments; salad dressings and ketchup have added sugar.
  5. Choose fresh fruit for dessert instead of cakes, pies, cookies, ice cream and candy.
  6. If you buy canned fruit, choose ones packed in water or juice, not syrup.

Making it Work

Make it a family goal to reduce your sugar intake. It can be tough at first to wean kids (and yourself) off sugar, but here are a few tips to help make it easier:

  • Empower: allow kids to pick their own cereal with 5 grams of sugar or less (per serving). Let them help choose healthy recipes and prepare the food as well.
  • Make your own: to avoid the excess sugar in pre-prepared food and restaurant food, make your own food from scratch, such as tomato sauce. It takes about five minutes to stir a can of whole or chopped tomatoes with sautéed onion, garlic and spices.
  • Compromise: if cutting out sugar cold turkey seems intimidating and you need a more gradual approach, consider compromising on having favorite treats once in awhile to help you in the process. Remember: don’t let food turn into a reward!

About The Author—Cassidy Silversmith

Cassidy Silversmith graduated from Utah Valley University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education. In 2013, she went on to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). She currently works in the Wellness Department as a Wellness Assistant

Sources:

Dinicolantonio, James J., et al. “The Evidence for Saturated Fat and for Sugar Related to Coronary Heart Disease.”

Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, vol. 58, no. 5, 2016, pp. 464–472., doi:10.1016/j.pcad.2015.11.006.

Sugar and Heart Disease: The Sour Side of Industry-Funded Research.” huffpost.com.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/healthline-/sugar-and-heart-disease-t_b_12123384.html

“50 Years Ago, Sugar Industry Quietly Paid Scientists To Point Blame At Fat.” npr.org.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/09/13/493739074/50-years-ago-sugar-industry-quietly-paid-scientists-to-point-blame-at-fat

Sugar Industry Manipulated Research About Health Effects, Study Finds.” npr.org.

http://www.npr.org/2016/09/13/493801090/sugar-industry-manipulated-research-about-health-effects-study-finds

The Dangers of Salt and Sugar — and How to Protect Yourself.” dallasnew.org.

http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/health-and-fitness/columnists/nancy-churnin/20130415-the-dangers-of-salt-and-sugar–and-how-to-protect-yourself.ece

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

Recent Posts From Our Blog
Read more today!