The Sour Truth on the Side Effects of Eating Sugar

A spoonful of sugar isolated on a white background.

Americans love the taste of sugar.  Not only does sugar occur naturally in many foods, but added sugars can be found in the majority of processed foods we regularly eat.  Sugar consumption has been steadily rising in America for decades, and now the average American eats far more sugar, every day than is recommended by healthcare professionals. There is a price paid for all that sweetness.  In this article, learn about sugar consumption trends in America, why eating sugar is bad for you, the three major types of sugar we consume, and if eating sugar can be addictive. So put down that can of soda and read on.

Americans Love Sugar

A stack on doughnut isolated on white background.

Two hundred years ago, the average American ate only 2 pounds of sugar a year. By 1970, that number rose to 123 pounds of sugar per year. Today, the average American consumes almost 152 pounds of sugar in one year.  This averages out to 6 cups of sugar per week. We eat so much sugar that the US consumes more sugar per capita than any other country on earth. And there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.  

Americans consume far more sugar than is recommended.  According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, nutritionists suggest that Americans should get only 10% of their calories from sugar. This equals 13.3 teaspoons of sugar per day (based on 2,000 calories per day).  We currently consume around 42 teaspoons per day.  That’s over 3X the recommended daily consumption. 

Is this a bad thing?

Yes!  Added sugars, as opposed to naturally occurring sugars, in processed foods are a primary driver of obesity.  Additionally, they have direct metabolic effects that raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart and liver diseases. Plus, all that sugar contributes to dental disease which, left untreated, can cause gum disease which can result in heart disease.

According to Healthy Food America, people who consume 12–30 teaspoons per day, compared to those who consume less than 12 teaspoons of sugar, increase their risk of dying from heart disease by nearly one-third. Eating more than 30 teaspoons of sugar a day increases the risk nearly three-fold.    

The Story of Three Sugars 

Sugar is a broad term that includes naturally occurring sweet substances.  The most common sugars are Sucrose, Lactose, and Fructose.  Each type of sugar comes from different sources and affects the body in different ways. 

Type of SugarSourceInsulin RequirementAffects on Blood Sugar
SucroseSugar Cane/Sugar BeetsYesHighest
LactoseDairy ProductsYesHigh
Source: Difference Between

Sucrose is table sugar and is the most commonly added sugar. It spikes insulin levels in the bloodstream and over time can lead to Type II diabetes. Lactose is found in all dairy products. It creates elevated insulin levels in the bloodstream. Fructose has the sweetest taste, does not need insulin to be processed, and has the lowest effect on blood sugar.

Sugar Addiction

Sugar cubes support tiles that spell out the word addict.

Sugar consumption can create a short-term high and a spark of energy in the body. People often enjoy the dopamine release sugar brings. It helps people power through business meetings, students pull all-night study sessions and get through an afternoon of errands and kid pick up.  But as reported by New Hall Hospital, studies suggest sugar is as addictive as cocaine! And due to the addictive nature of sugar, long-term health risks from obesity and diabetes are especially troubling. 

Just about everyone we know enjoys the taste of sugar.  Unfortunately, it is an addictive substance that can cause long-term health problems for those who eat too much of it. In our next article, we will explore popular foods that contain hidden sugar and healthy alternatives.  Plus, we will present the pros and cons of sugar substitutes, and tips to reduce your sugar consumption. Naturally You is committed to your health and wellness.  Visit our website to learn more about diet and six keys to optimal health, as well as our complete line of full-spectrum CBD products.  Plus we offer a live chat feature and are always happy to discuss any natural health and healing topic.  We look forward to chatting with you soon, naturally.

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