It is a Sunday afternoon, and I find myself flipping through TV shows, finally settling on NBC’s Biggest Loser. This show caught my attention because of a scene showing a human size pile of sugar in front of a contestant representing the amount of sugar this contestant consumes in a year. Each day this contestant consumes at least six cans of soda, six bottles of juice, and one sports drink. That adds up to 1.5 pounds of sugar each day, and that doesn’t even include the amount of sugar consumed in their food! I have a bit of a sweet tooth myself but this amount is staggering to me.
Most people know that consuming high amounts of sugar is not healthy, but few realize how dangerous it can be. Research shows that sugar is linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other health issues. Sugar is also the fuel for cavity causing bacteria. So why do we (me included) keep eating sugar day after day? Because sugar has addictive properties AND is in almost everything we eat.
Your body goes through a cycle like this when you eat sugar:
Even worse, several seemingly healthier versions of food have a sneaky high amount of sugar in them. For example, foods labeled “fat free” do have less fat but sugar is added to enhance flavor. Take a look at the caloric information on the yogurt you eat in the morning, it can rival the amount of sugar in a candy bar.
What can we do about it? Educate ourselves about the food we consume is the first step. One dentist, Dr. Cristin E. Kearns, DDS, MBA, has teamed up with a group of fellow scientists to provide “an authoritative source for evidence-based scientific information about sugar and its impact on health called Sugar Science”. You can check out their mission and research on their website.
I personally, have found it very useful to use a food app on my phone to keep track of the foods I consume each day. Since I know I have a powerful sweet tooth, I can have my cake and eat it too, if I cut back on other foods with sugar to offset my daily dessert. Knowledge of what you eat, consistent visits to your healthcare providers, and regular exercise are the best defenses to a healthy life. See you at your next visit!
Lustig, R.H., Schmidt, L.A., & Brindis, C.D. (2012, February 2). Public health: The toxic truth about sugar. Nature , 487(5), 27-29. doi:10.1038/482027a. Retrieved from http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v482/n7383/full/482027a.html
Sugar Science: The Unsweetened Truth. University of California San Francisco. http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/
The Biggest Loser’s Colby Can’t Believe His 90-Day Sugar Intake: ‘That’s Crazy!’. US Weekly. http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/the-biggest-losers-colby-cant-believe-his-90-day-sugar-intake-crazy-w164101