Of course, everyone reading this already knows that sugar is “bad” for you. It’ll make you fat, you can get addicted to it, and it causes all sorts of health problems, like early heart disease, diabetes, depression, cancer susceptibility. But recently, a massive study out of China was able to determine how much sugar taken into the body daily is actually dangerous to your health and affects your longevity.
Here’s a list of what the study revealed. Sugar intake excess is associated with:
- Chronic inflammation and autoimmune disorders,
- Susceptibility to infections, both acute and chronic,
- Heart disease,
- Acne and rosacea,
- Susceptibility to Alzheimer’s Disease,
- High blood pressure,
- Cancer susceptibility,
- Weight gain and obesity,
- Fatty liver disease,
- Kidney failure,
- Tooth decay,
- Joint pain,
- Reproductive issues.
Published in the British Medical Journal this past February as a ‘metanalysis’ (reviewing hundreds of previous studies), any amount of sugar more than 25 grams a day can potentially get you into trouble.
To me, and I imagine to many of you, this fact, in itself, is not helpful.
Well, 25 grams is about 6 teaspoonfuls of sugar and looks like this.
Sugar comes in many forms, and the 25 grams adds up fast. Some years ago, musician Tom Lehrer, who is still going at age 95, composed a song in which he sang the full Periodic Table of Elements. He now could do the same with all the hidden sugars. There’s agave nectar, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, rice syrup, sucrose and syrup. Oh, if you want to hear Tom Lehrer’s song, here it is.
Yoplait Flavored Yogurt adds 13 grams of sugar as a sweetener.
Granola Bars average 10-15 grams of sugar.
And that’s just breakfast. Or you could throw caution to the winds and have a Starbuck’s Java Chip Frappuccino with 59 grams of sugar.
The table below comes from Fitbit and gives you some suggestions on reducing your sugar. The food industry knows sugar is addicting and deliberately places sugar in foods where it really doesn’t belong (hamburger buns, ketchup, potato salad). A single can of Coca Cola contains 16 teaspoons of sugar.
One study analyzed grocery habits of 150 years ago: the sugar consumption was about 15 lbs. a year. Now, according to the sugar industry itself, every person in the U.S. eats 60 lbs. a year, 34 teaspoons a day, (4 grams in a teaspoon X 34 teaspoons = 144 grams a day). Yikes.
If you really have an issue with sugar cravings/addiction, there are several useful supplements you can use for maintenance:
- Pure Encapsulations Glutamine, 500 mg twice a day
- Integrative Therapeutics Glycemic Manager, twice a day
- Designs for Health Collagen, once a day
Consider a consultation with our nutritionist, Tam Dickson-Meyer, who can give you a lot of great ideas about getting sugar out of your life. Here’s an example of changes you can make without too much self-torture. (Table is below).
David Edelberg, MD