The Dangers of Sugar

It seems like we have been warned for decades about how dangerous it is to eat an excess of fat or salt. However, the media seems to have been keeping relatively quiet about sugar until recently. Perhaps, we can no longer ignore our country’s rising rates of obesity and deteriorating health (1). Each and every day, it seems like there is something new being uncovered about how sugar can decrease our health and increase our waistlines. Furthermore, food companies continue to add sugar to their products, often coming up with ways to process it and creating new names for it, often misleading the public. So, is sugar really so toxic for our bodies and is it addictive?

Sugar could play an integral role in chronic disease epidemic…
Today, there is an estimated 100 million North Americans who are living with diabetes or are pre-diabetic. There is evidence pointing to the fact that refined sugar may be the primary factor causing obesity and many of these chronic diseases (1). How is it possible that our continent is eating such high amounts of sugar? Well, it could be because we happen to have a surplus of processed foods in our grocery stores and we have a fast food restaurant at nearly every major stoplight. Americans also often rely on a can of soda or an energy drink to through the workday. We rely heavily on sugar to help us “get by,” but is this same substance leading to our demise?

You could be shortening your life span…
What if we told you that people who consumed 25% or more of their daily calories from sugar were twice as likely to die of heart disease than those whose diets included less than 10% of added sugar? “Overall, the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in the diet” (2). Sugar must be frowned upon, not only because it contributes to weight gain and cavities, but for the mere reason that it feeds us empty calories. What are empty calories? Well, they don’t bring any nutritional support to the table and they surely don’t come with vitamins or minerals. We should be more focused on adding nutrient-dense foods to our diets instead of letting our diets become overhauled by sugar and sugar-laden products.

So, what should you stay away from at the grocery store in order to avoid sugar? Refined breads, grain-based desserts, sugary sodas and juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, etc. The next time you reach for a bag of Oreos, remember that a green apple will make you feel fuller, provide you with greater nutrition and can be paired with all kinds of delicious nut butters to make for a delicious and nutritious snack!

1) Mercola, Joseph. “Dangers of Sugar: Secrets of Sugar Industry Exposed.” N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.
2) Corliss, Julie. “Eating Too Much Added Sugar Increases the Risk of Dying with Heart Disease – Harvard Health Blog.” Harvard Health Blog RSS. N.p., 06 Feb. 2014. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.