​Added Sugar is Not Good for Health, Especially Now

We’re currently facing an unprecedented challenge to public health, and most of us are wondering how to stay healthy. Cutting back on added sugar is one lifestyle choice to pay close attention to right now. Here’s why…
 
Added sugar has been vilified over the last few years and for good reason. Study after study shows added sugar, most often consumed in sugar sweetened beverages, contributes to some of our most serious chronic health conditions.
 
Added sugar is probably at the top of the list of dietary habits that cause us to carry excess weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of a number of health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. All of these issues are a threat to our health and longevity at any time, but it’s important to note that all of these issues can also increase the likelihood that an infection is more severe. Being over age 65 and having one of these underlying health issues puts us at extreme risk right now. But being any age and being overweight or having one of these underlying health conditions raises our risk of severe illness.
 
American adults consume an average of 77 grams of sugar per day, more than three times the recommended amount for women. American kids consume 81 grams per day, equaling over 65 pounds of added sugar per year.
 
The American Heart Association suggests men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) of added sugar per day. For women the number is lower: 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) per day. It’s tempting to look to other sweeteners as a better choice. Products made with honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar or turbinado sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and dextrose, for example, are marketed as healthier choices. Don’t be fooled. Our body sure isn’t! Too much sugar is too much, no matter the source.
 
It all comes down to how fast the sugars get absorbed. For example, our body spends more time digesting an apple because of the fiber content, so the natural sugar absorbs more slowly. On the flip side, the added sugar in soda arrives all at once in our system. All that extra sugar gets converted to calories and then stored fat much more quickly. This is not good for our immune system.
 
Studies published way back in the 1970s showed that sugar dramatically slowed the immune response. Critics of those studies say that they have not been proven true in more recent trials. While that may be the case, there is no arguing the fact that added sugars do lead to weight gain and as such may be increasing risk of heart disease. Present threats to health set aside, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world today. Let’s resolve to cut way back on added sugars to stay healthy today and every day.