Are you sitting comfortably? Good! Because we’re talking statistics today, and they’re enough to knock your socks off!
It’s estimated that in 2021 alone, Americans consumed over 11,000,000 metric tons of sugar.
To paint a visual picture for you, that’s the weight of not one but two of the great pyramids of Egypt! That is some serious sweet-toothed thang going down! The world may be teetering on the edge of a global cost of living crisis, but if you’re in the business of filling cavities, life sure looks sweet, wherever your dental chair might be located!
Let’s look at it another way. Per individual, that figure equates to the average American getting through a staggering 152 pounds of sugar a year…EACH! Our teeth hurt just thinking about it.
Just consider for a minute what 152 pounds even looks like. Depending on your height and gender, that might be your target healthy weight, but let’s face it, that is one seriously big sugar lump! Elsewhere in the world, that figure is less, but excessive sugar consumption is a global issue.
Recent research suggests that it’s not just consumers who fall into the obesity bracket who are guilty of having a sweet tooth.
When it comes to chocolate and candy, according to Candy & Snack Today, they’re purchased at similar rates by both obese and healthy-weight individuals.
Sugar, it seems, is a treat most of us can’t beat
Over-consumption of so-called indulgent, high-calorific food isn’t the real issue; high sugar content is. Many of us are battling to curb our confectionary bad habits, even though it’s well documented that too much added sugar is linked to heart health and is a serious threat to cardiovascular disease.
But isn’t sugar naturally occurring? How can that be a bad thing?
While sugar naturally occurs in most foods that contain carbohydrates such as fruit and veg which, as we all know, can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, the problem comes when too much added sugar is consumed, especially the kind that manufacturers throw into products to allegedly increase their flavor or extend the shelf life.
While efforts are being made to more clearly display portion guidance on packaging and highlight sugar and added sugar content on nutrition labels, how educated is the regular consumer about the damaging effects of sugar in the first place?
Always A Treat, an initiative working in collaboration with Partnership for a Healthier America, has been championing better consumer education since 2017 to help manage and reduce sugar intake. Yet still, they suggest that more than three-quarters of all adults still think chocolate and candy can play a part in a happy and balanced lifestyle.
Chronic inflammation is a silent killer!
Not to be too alarmist, low-grade inflammation, linked to regular consumption of sugary goods, can eventually turn into chronic health issues, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
It’s not just present in the obvious products like soft drinks, cakes, cookies, and candy. Sugar is also lurking in soups and sauces too.
Harvard Medical School estimates that the average adult consumes 24 teaspoons of EXTRA sugar daily, much of it “hidden” in foods. No wonder instances of obesity and diabetes are on the increase.
Yet, according to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than six teaspoons and nine teaspoons of sugar daily. That’s an awful lot of extra sugar being stirred into someone’s teacup or lurking in that cookie!
Obesity Isn’t the only problem.
Sugar increases the risk of heart disease and strokes and can indirectly overload the liver, not to mention raise blood pressure and cause that chronic inflammation we already cited.
Sugar is nothing short of a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
But it tastes so good, right?
That’s because, like other highly processed foods, sugar stimulates the same area of the brain as illegal drugs, which is why it’s labeled as addictive and readily over-consumed. Sugar cravings and addiction are real. The sugar rush or “high” followed by the inevitable crash happens.
Making sense of sugar so you can minimize your intake
Understanding the role and definition of natural sugar and added sugars in food is controversial. This Nutrition Facts infographic from www.foodinsight.org sheds some light on how to make sense of added sugar, so you know what to look out for in your packaged goods.
But if you want to cut back on your daily sugar intake, and if not, then why not, below is a list of foods you need to limit or remove entirely:
- Soft drinks – one single can of soda can contain as many as eight teaspoons of sugar
- Fruit juices -many can contain the same levels of sugar as soft drinks so go for whole fruit if you must
- Candies and sweets
- Cookies and cakes – tend to be high in refined carbohydrates and are best swerved
- Low fat and diet foods – often, the fat has been removed and replaced with sugar
Boring! Life’s too short not to indulge in delish dishes, right? Well, yes. We hear you! But life will be cut much shorter than anticipated if you don’t curb your enthusiasm for sugar.
Luckily, Simply Delish has all your sweet dietary needs covered with our range of zero sugar and delicious KETO instant puddings that are guilt free but ever taste-free!