How Much Sugar Are We Really Eating?
It is estimated that the average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar per day! If you add that up it equals over 8,000 teaspoons per year!
This amount is alarming considering that this is about six times the amount that people ate in the 1700s. And the amount they ate likely consisted of more healthful sources like fruit rather than the highly processed foods we eat today.
Why Is Sugar In So Many Foods?
It started back in the late 1960s when the sugar industry paid off scientists to make sure that saturated fat was the enemy, not sugar. Food scientists started adding sugar to many processed foods to increase overall taste, color, and flavor. What’s worse is that many food manufacturers today are using fructose or high-fructose corn syrup. They choose these products because they are so cheap and are about 20% sweeter than regular sugar!
Dr. Robert Lustig of the University of California says that the body can metabolize about 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. Americans these days are consuming nearly four times this amount!
So the big question is: What happens to all the excess sugar that the body cannot metabolize?
Well, most of it is metabolized into body fat, which leads to all the chronic metabolic diseases that are so prevalent in our society.
What are some of the effects of eating excess sugar on your health?
- It Overloads and Damages Your Liver: The effects of too much sugar on the liver are similar to the effects of too much alcohol on the liver. The only organ that can process sugar in the body is the liver so when you consume too much, you burden the liver, making it harder for the liver to do its job, leading to inflammation, and potential liver damage, which is known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- It Tricks Your Body to Gain Weight and Affects Insulin/Leptin: Sugar can fool your metabolism by failing to stimulate insulin. This, in turn, suppresses ghrelin, the hunger hormone, which fails to stimulate leptin, the satiety hormone. This cycle can cause you to eat more and develop insulin resistance.
- It Causes Metabolic Dysfunction: Eating too much sugar can cause symptoms known as Metabolic Syndrome- excess weight, abdominal obesity, decreased HDL and increased LDL cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, elevated triglycerides, and high blood pressure.
- It Increases Uric Acid Levels: High uric acid levels are a risk factor for heart and kidney disease. There is such a big connection between fructose, metabolic syndrome, and uric acid that uric acid can now be used as a marker for fructose toxicity! Try tracking how much sugar you eat for a day so you can see where you are at! Generally, everyone should be reducing sugar as much as possible- especially from processed foods. And be aware- sugar can hide under more than 60 different names on food labels!
Summary of Are You Eating Too Much Sugar
The average American is eating way more sugar than they used to. The sugar industry was behind a lot of the introduction of sugar to processed foods. Eating too much sugar leads to many health conditions including liver damage, weight gain, metabolic dysfunction, and increased uric acid levels.