Sweet Talkin’: A Simple Guide on Added Sugars
Added sugars are sweeteners included to many food and beverages, while undergoing processing and preparation. They come in many types and are known by different names. But if we read a product label and see ingredients like corn syrup, confectioner’s powdered sugar, lactose or white granulated sugar, and then some, this indicates that the product has sweeteners.
While added sugars make our food and drink more flavorful and delicious, doctors and experts, for many years, have suggested that our propensity for its over consumption is the main reason why cases of obesity and diabetes are increasing. Many researches delve into the ill effects of added sugar, linking this to premature aging, diabetes, weight gain, tooth decay, high blood pressure, heart disease and even cancer.
Added Sugar vs. Natural Sugar
Fruits, milk and vegetables contain natural sugar that nutritionists consider healthier. Two of the most common natural sugars are fructose and lactose, which may also be mixed in food processing, along with with added sugar.
Food manufacturers, however, need to keep using added sugar, despite offering very little nutritional value, because aside from adding flavor, it helps maintain the food’s freshness and gives it texture. Added sugar also keeps other ingredients in balance so that it doesn’t become too acidic, such as with food containing tomatoes or vinegar.
Why Added Sugar May Be Dangerous
Given that added sugar is found in most of the food we eat, it’s hard to completely avoid this altogether. Sugar, whether natural or added, helps boost the energy our body needs to stay active. The real problems actually lie in eating too much of added sugar.
Apart from the obvious consequences that affect our health, the most concern being obesity, filling up our diet with foods rich in added sugar makes us lazy eaters. Studies have shown that we are less likely to go for healthier items like fruits and milk, because they could taste bland and boring; and more likely go for appetizing foods, because they are conveniently available and more enticing to eat.
Alarmed by rising cases of health problems linked to a diet of mostly added sugars, the USDA and the American Heart Association have set guidelines that should help keep our daily caloric intake in check.
Men are supposed to only take 150 calories from added sugar daily, or about 9 teaspoons full; while women should only have about 100 calories of daily added sugar intake or roughly 6 teaspoons full.
Measuring this by actual products, men can enjoy a 16-ounce cup of coffee, while women can eat about half a cup of ice cream in a day, without having to worry about going beyond the proper guidelines.
Some form of self-discipline and self-control must also be exercised to minimize added sugar intake.
- Forego soda and other flavored beverages for water.
- Make a conscious effort to add in more vegetables and whole grains in the diet.
- Resist the urge of consuming sweets and baked goodies, as well as candy bars. If you’re sweet tooth is craving for some, opt for fruits instead
- Minimize eating processed foods, as these not only contain sugar, it also has high amounts of fat and sodium.
This guest article was written by Rachel, a freelance writer for BracesCostInfo.com. She enjoy writing about healthy dieting, dental care, and the use of natural remedies.