We’ve all heard the saying, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” but in truth the saying could be, “A spoonful of sugar keeps the medicine around!”
Let us explain: For over 50 years, sugar has been viewed as a harmless additive. Empty calories and tooth decay were its worst vices—you could have your treat and really have no health side effects…in theory. Unfortunately, that theory was false. Or, if we’re being honest, that theory was rigged. Research recently unveiled documentation stating that the sugar industry paid a group of researchers to push off the negative health consequences of sugar onto fat. In short, they paid the researchers to lie about sugar’s negative health effects. Cristin Kearns, the researcher who made the finding, along with her colleagues wrote, “Together with other recent analyses of sugar industry documents, our findings suggest the industry sponsored a research program in the 1960s and 1970s that successfully cast doubt about the hazards of sucrose while promoting fat as the dietary culprit in coronary heart disease.” (1) We were appalled (but not surprised) when we read these recent findings.
In the past few years studies NOT funded by the sugar industry have begun to pop up, warning about the detrimental health effects sugar may have on our bodies. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke are just a few of the ailments listed by the researchers. (2) With these findings, it leads us to believe sugar isn’t a minor player in a health crisis, but a major contributor.
So, how much of a problem is sugar? The average person in the U.S. eats around 300 calories of sugar daily. To put it into perspective, you’d have to run three miles to burn off those calories. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends people should consume no more than four tablespoons while the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests two tablespoons. And how much sugar does a typical American consume in a day? Twenty-two teaspoons, almost 1/2 cup! We are a nation addicted to sugar. (3)
Because of its downplayed effects, sugar has become a mainstay in the American diet. Around 75% of our foods and drinks contain added sugar. In fact, until 2018, federal law does not require the labels to include the added sugar content. (4) While we are very happy about these changes in the food industry, we still have at least a year and a half before we see change. And that year can make a very big difference in our health.
So where does this lead us? How do we change our lifestyle to avoid the ill effects of sugar right now? Here is a great place to start:
- Find your baseline. Track how much sugar you consume in an average week. Don’t change your habits; just pay attention to what’s going into your body. Read your labels. Remember four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon of granulated sugar. It’s also important to note your fruit intake. While fruit contains natural sugars (fructose), along with lots of vitamins and minerals, these fruits can contain several grams of natural sugar in just one cup. Fruits with less natural sugars include raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, lemons and limes.
- Set a goal for yourself. Once you’ve set a baseline, determine a good goal for yourself to reduce your sugar intake. Try to reduce your sugar consumption week by week.
- Replace your processed refined sugars with natural sugars. Our book, Eating Pure in a Processed Foods WorldTM uses natural sugars and gives conversion tips.
- Don’t give up! Reducing sugar takes time and discipline, but the rewards will be well worth it!
Next week we will be walking you through a step-by-step sugar detox, be sure to sign up to receive our emails so you don’t miss it.