How Much Sugar Are We Really Eating?
It is estimated that the average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar per day! That equates to over 8,000 teaspoons per year!
This amount is definitely alarming considering that this is about six times the amount that people ate in the 1700’s. And the amount they ate likely consisted of more healthful sources like fruit rather than the highly processed foods we eat today.
Why Are We Eating So Much Sugar?
It started back in the late 1960’s 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 manufactures 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.
This leads to the next question: 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 the the effects of too much alcohol on the liver. The only organ that has the ability to 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 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!
If you find you are eating too much sugar and you don’t know how to reduce it or are having a hard time, check out our Holistic Nutritional Coaching for some help!