Fitness Facts: Hidden effects of sugar
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
Most people think of reducing their sugar intake simply as a means to lose weight or prevent and treat diabetes. But excessive sugar intake has many other negative effects on our body.
Sugar can …
- Suppress the immune system
- Contribute to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression and concentration problems
- Cause a rise triglycerides
- Cause drowsiness
- Increase the risk of heart disease and cause atherosclerosis
- Lead to vitamin deficiencies
- Cause food allergies
- Increase the body’s fluid retention
- Lead to periodontal disease
- Increase the amount of fat in the liver
- Contribute to eczema in children
- Cause kidney damage
- Speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and gray hair
These are only to list a few! An excess intake of sugar affects the whole body.
The average American consumes 2-3 pounds of sugar each week. In the past 20 years, the consumption of sugar has risen from 26 pounds to 135 pounds of sugar per person per year. Before the turn of the century, the average consumption was less than five pounds per person.
Sugar is hidden in different forms, such as sucrose, dextrose, maltose and high fructose corn syrup and processed into breads, breakfast cereals, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce and most microwavable meals.
How much is too much?
The World Health Organization is dropping its sugar intake recommendations from 10 percent of your daily calorie intake to 5 percent.
For an adult of a normal body mass index (BMI), that works out to about 6 teaspoons — or 25 grams — of sugar per day.
To put this into perspective, here are a list of common drinks with their sugar content:
- Cola = 39 grams of sugar
- Orange soda = 44 grams of sugar
- Clear (lemon-lime) = 38 grams of sugar
- Sports drink = 21 grams of sugar
- Sweetened bottled iced tea = 35 grams of sugar
- Vitamin-infused water (20-ounce bottle) = 32 grams of sugar
- Sweetened cranberry juice “cocktail”) = 38 grams of sugar
- Caffeinated energy drink = 41 grams of sugar
- Apple juice (10 ounces) = 32 grams of sugar
As you can see, eliminating sugary drinks can have a profound effect on your health!