While most understand that there is such a thing as too much sugar the substance is almost everywhere. And unfortunately for those hoping to cut down on their daily intake its oftentimes hidden behind certain code words.
Sugar can play a role in affecting your metabolism, cause you to gain weight, contribute to tooth decay and even raise the risk of heart disease. It can even raise the risk of diabetes, and cause acne. There are countless reasons Americans need to limit just how much of the stuff they shove down their gullets on a daily basis.
The American Health Association recommends limiting your daily intake of sugar to no more than half of the calories you consume in a day. For women, that’s about 100 calories or nine teaspoons. That number increases to 150 calories and nine teaspoons for men. Those numbers are derived from the daily recommended intake of both men and women to maintain a healthy diet.
Now that we know how much is too much, it’s time to look at those tricky code words that could actually leave you taking in more sugar then what is recommended. Please also keep in mind that your body does not need sugar in order to function properly and unneeded sugar intake will only add weight and lead to obesity if one isn’t careful.
“To tell if a processed food contains added sugars, you need to look at the list of ingredients,” according to the AHA. Sugar has many names. Besides those ending in “ose,” such as maltose or sucrose, other names for the sweetener include high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey or fruit juice concentrates. To maintain a healthy diet, limit your consumption of foods with high amounts of added sugars, such as sugar-sweetened beverages. Just one 12-ounce can of regular soda contains eight teaspoons of sugar, or 130 calories, and zero nutrition.
Now let’s talk about the worst offender of them all. The holy grail of sugary sweetness: sugary drinks. While most of us chug a soft drink or sugary juice drink without much thought, these are the sources of the majority of our daily sugar intake. With that in mind, the easiest solution, albeit not as tasty, is to substitute the sugary substances with water!
“Optimally, we would encourage people to drink water in place of sugar sweetened beverages,” D.Sc Alice Lichtenstein said in an interview with NBC News. “However, given that is not always an effective strategy, we need to consider the risk/benefit ratio of other options.”
But don’t fret! In the end, we don’t have to give up our sugary drinks or even other sweets that are packed with sugar, we just have to consume them in moderation. Of course, that probably doesn’t sound as appealing, especially considering the imagery that permeates our lives that makes sugary drinks look oh so refreshing and candy bars oh so delicious. But doing so significantly cuts down on the risk of major health problems in the future.