Every day, we are exposed to an additive in our food and drink that is as toxic to the liver as alcohol.
While the FDA has some nonbinding ideas and opinions about labeling, there are no actual laws which regulate this substance.
It is eight times more addictive than cocaine, and much of it is found in products designed for and marketed to our children.
It goes by 61 different names, but we all know it best as sugar. Yep, this seemingly innocuous sweetener is in nearly everything we put in our mouths, and it is killing us.
We took an in-depth look at the negative effects of sugar in our diets; what it’s doing to our bodies and minds, and to our nation and the world as a whole.
What we found was shocking.
Warning: You may never look at sugar the same way again.
Sugar Is Everywhere
We all know where to find sugar in our foods – or do we?
Obvious choices like ice cream, candy, and other desserts are usually what comes to mind when we think about sugary foods.
While we may not subsist entirely on candy and other sweets, the average American eats around 22 teaspoons of sugar per day; a stark contrast to the recommended amount of 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
22 teaspoons works out to 77 lbs of sugar a year.
The thing is, we oftentimes don’t think about how much sugar is in the everyday stuff we put in our bodies.
We came up with a sample of what the everyday working American might eat, and took a look at the sugar content for that day’s worth of food.
- For breakfast, some granola (18g) with vanilla yogurt (17g).
- Starbucks on the way to work for a grande soy Chai Latte (43g).
- For lunch, hit McDonald’s for a chicken sandwich (5g) and a Coke (40g).
- Slam a Monster energy drink (54g) to get through the rest of the workday.
- Pop a Stouffer’s single-serve lasagna (8g) in the oven for supper.
- Unwind with a couple glasses of wine (2.8g) before bed.
It doesn’t seem like a lot of food, right?
The grand total came out to 188g of sugar. That’s a whopping 38 teaspoons – almost double the average amount consumed!
Grams and teaspoons can seem a bit abstract, so for perspective, a single packet of sugar is one gram. 188 packets of sugar is about 2 boxes of sugar packets.
Just as there are sugars in foods we don’t consider to be sweets, there is also sugar in foods marketed as healthy.
A bowl of Muesli has twice as much sugar as a bowl of Fruit Loops, a bottle of Light Ranch dressing has twice as much sugar as regular Ranch, and a Cliff bar has the same amount of sugar as two Pop Tarts!
Dried fruit seems healthy, but a 1/3 cup has 24g of sugar, and not all of that is natural sugar either – a look at the box usually shows sugar as the second ingredient.
Even a slice of seeded whole-grain bread has about a teaspoon of sugar.
Other common foods that are full of sugar include barbeque sauce, ketchup, teriyaki sauce, non-dairy creamer, milk, beer, and instant noodle seasonings.
Fat vs Sugar
One of the great debates of our time is what is making us fat and unhealthy.
At first glance, it would seem that if you eat a bunch of fat, you’re going to gain a bunch of fat.
This has led to a number of “lite” options for many of the foods we enjoy, such as yogurt, dressing, cheese, and sauces.
However, the manufacturers simply replace the fat with sugar to fill the flavor void.
Sugar translates into carbohydrates, and carbs, if not burned off quickly, get stored in the body as fat.
Low-carb and ketogenic diets perfectly exemplify how a high-fat diet can not only be healthful; it can actually burn fat and cause rapid weight loss.
It turns out that fat + protein = weight loss; fat + carbs = weight gain.
What Sugar Does to Our Bodies
How exactly does our body respond to sugar? After all, don’t we need sugar in our blood to function?
Well, yes, we do…to a point.
Sugar is a carbohydrate, which helps supply your body with energy. All your cells use it. But sugar is also a calorie. Too many calories, as we know, means weight gain. And too many calories from sugar can also cause insulin spikes, heart disease, kidney failure, diabetes, obesity, and even cancer.
In order to understand why sugar is so dangerous, we have to understand how it affects our bodies. Eating sugar triggers the release of a chemical called dopamine. This is the same chemical released when we drink alcohol, use drugs, or have sex.
Since whole foods like fruits or veggies don’t cause as much dopamine to be released, they aren’t as satisfying. This is why we reach for a candy bar for an afternoon snack instead of, say, a bag of celery.
Once we’ve bombarded our system with sugar, the body gets to work on converting it into usable energy. To do this, your pancreas releases insulin. Too much sugar can cause your body to become resistant to the insulin being produced, so your pancreas has to increase the amount of insulin.
After a while, your pancreas will become so worn out that it will stop producing insulin altogether, and that’s where Type 2 diabetes comes from. All that stress on your system causes your arteries to tense and thicken (that can cause heart problems and even affect male sexual performance).
All of this damage is adding up – 40 percent of American adults and nearly 20 percent of adolescents are obese — the highest rates ever recorded for the U.S.
A Sweetener By Any Other Name
Being label-conscious about sugar in your food is the first step toward halting and reversing the damage that’s being done to your body.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to do that when you don’t know what you’re looking for.
Here’s a list of the most common aliases that you should keep an eye out for when making food choices:
- Agave nectar
- Barley malt
- Brown rice syrup
- Cane crystals
- Cane juice
- Carob syrup
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Corn syrup solids
- Crystalline fructose
- Evaporated cane juice
- Fruit juice concentrates
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt syrup
- Rice bran syrup
- Rice syrup
- Sorghum syrup
Even sugar alternatives like Splenda or Stevia have sugars in them – maltodextrin is often used as a clumping agent to give the product a granulated texture, and it can be found in a lot of zero-calorie drinks.
Also, don’t be fooled by things like coconut sugar, raw sugar, beet sugar, and so on.
While these may sound like natural and healthy sources, it’s all the same thing.
The Negative Effects of Sugar: Dangerous Down To The Bone
Believe it or not, overconsumption of sugar can even cause your bones to break down. Some of the consequences of bone deterioration include fractures and subluxations, as well as impaired joint mobility.
If your body is already carrying around extra weight from a diet high in sugars, the risk of bone deterioration is even higher. The list of negative effects of sugar just doesn’t seem to end, but it doesn’t have to continue affecting your health.
The Good News
Ready for some good news? You don’t have to put up with any of these unpleasant ailments caused by the negative effects of sugar for any longer!
Call or email us today to book an appointment.