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Sugar Sugar Da Da Da Da Da Da

Sugar Sugar Da Da Da Da Da Da

It’s everywhere and linked to many chronic diseases

Everyone knows the tune to that song!  But not everyone knows how pervasive sugar is in the diet, and more importantly just how damaging sugar can be to your health!  We are not talking about naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, whole grains, unsweetened dairy and vegetables. Instead, we are talking about added sugars that are found in virtually every processed food, from cookies and ketchup to flavored potato chips and deli meats – even salad dressings, marinades, pasta sauces and breakfast cereal.  Because it’s used so frequently in the food production process, sugar is found far beyond the obvious soda, sweets and cakes. 

While these added sugars offer flavor that we just can’t seem to get enough of, they are also used in food manufacturing to add texture (think baked goods) and extend shelf life (think about candied fruit, cured meats).  When identifying sugar on the label it can be found in familiar terms such as brown sugar, maple syrup and sugar or unfamiliar names such as sucrose, invert sugar and high fructose corn syrup.  Did you know there are more than 50 alternative names!? 

Having a sweet treat occasionally is nothing to worry about, but when sugar becomes a major player in the diet, issues like weight control, diabetes and heart disease soon follow.  One study published in Gastroenterology, investigated sugar-sweetened beverage intake to learn more about increasing trends in early onset colorectal cancer development.  They found that consumption of high amounts of sugar during teenage years was associated with adenoma (tumor development) in the colon.  While initially benign, 70-90% of colorectal cancers arise from adenomas

Average intake for most Americans is hovering around 17 teaspoons a day, while the CDC recommends that added sugars should be limited to 10% of total calories or about 12 teaspoons which is about 200 calories.  The good news is that added sugars are now required to be listed on ingredients panels- so you can easily identify foods that have them.  A good rule of thumb is to look for foods that have 5% DV or less of sugar.  Avoid foods that have 20% DV or more.  It’s estimated that reducing sugar intake to suggested targets could prevent almost 2.48 million Cardiovascular Disease events, .49 million deaths, .75 million diabetes cases.

If you do have a sweet tooth and want to consume less added sugars, consider fruit-based desserts.  Our Autumn Apple Crisp has limited added sugar, tons of seasonal flavor and even a creamy sauce that is made primarily of bananas! 

 

 

Published October 1, 2021

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