Sugar consumption has reached dangerous new highs. As I wrote in a previous article, it’s use has increased from 18 pounds per person a couple hundred years ago to 150 pounds today . . . according to the latest data. The result of this increase in excess usage has led to devastating effects on the body’s health. It is considered the cigarette of today because of what it is doing to our population and until there is a unified effort on our part to target food manufacturers and local, state and federal government officials there will be no changes in the near future.
What are the effects of excess sugar?
Although some sugar is necessary for our energy needs too much will lead to serious health issues. Among them are . . .
- Weight gain and the likelihood of becoming obese.
- Heart disease
- Chronic inflammation
- Increase risk of some cancers
- Pre-diabetes and diabetes
- Compromised immune system
- Poor kidney function
- Peripheral Neuropathy or nerve damage in your extremities
- Poor vision
Why is there excess sugar in our foods?
Food manufacturers are all about increasing the bottom line and I put a lot of onus on them. However, they are ultimately not the cause of the over-abundance of sugar in our foods.
Because of claims by researchers in the past that too much fat was not good for us to eat – supposedly causing weight gain and poor health – the Federal Government established dietary guidelines that called for reducing the fat in our daily diet and replacing it with more sugary/starchy products such as cereals, breads, pastas, rice, fat-free salad dressing, artificial sweeteners and etc.
The Fed guidelines were taught in schools and its label can still be seen in many public eateries.
The problem was that these foods were the direct cause of poor health and that many fats were not really so bad for us. This did not deter food producers.
Food marketers heavily promoted this theory of less fat and more carbs and the manufacturers of our foods removed that fat from their products. Margarine replaced butter, whole milk was replaced by skimmed, real yogurt was replaced by fat free versions.
Unfortunately, when the fat was removed foods, they tasted terrible. To improve taste, they replaced it with sugar.
However, because of public outcry based on new research about excess sugar, food manufacturers had to find a more subtle way of including sugar in their products. They did this by disguising it under different names. Learn the different names of sugar.
Marketers are also to be blamed for over-consumption of sugar
Marketers are also responsible for the amount of sugary products being sold. Turn on the TV and you are bombarded with Ads for sugary foods from candies to cereals, soft drinks, alcohol, etc.
Unfortunately, many ads are targeting children. No wonder it’s so difficult to quit this addiction. We have been hooked since we were children. When kids want a treat, we give them something sweet; when they are naughty, we threaten them by holding back the sugary treats.
How can we avoid eating excess sugar?
The first and most important thing for us to do is to become label readers. Federal guidelines are now in place that require food producers to list all the ingredients in their product. This makes it easy for us to identify those foods that have excess sugar.
For example, read the label on a container of pasta sauce or a bottle of ketchup or salad dressing. Sugar is clearly listed as one of the top ingredients.
Here are some other ways to keep sugar in check . . .
- Cut back on all sugar infused drinks – juices, flavored water, sodas and sports drinks
- Eat whole foods
- Replace sugary drinks with water and drink more herbal teas
- Replace sugary treats with healthy ones – fruits, dark chocolate
- Replace salad dressings with naturals oils – virgin olive oil, coconut oil, etc.
What can we do to get excess sugar out of our foods?
Petition for warning labels to be placed on all packaged foods with sugar as a major ingredient.
A huge amount of effort went into getting the warning label put on a package of cigarettes and it was effective in getting a sizable amount of our population to either quit or not start. It will take such an effort for us to do the same for sugar. In fact, it won’t be an easy battle because our population has been hooked on this addictive substance from an early age.
Contact your local politician and members of medical organizations to inquire about putting additional taxes on products containing excess sugar.
Watch the documentary Fed Up by Stephanie Soechtig and narrated by Katie Couric.
Do your part by not giving your kids excess sugar but instead teach to like natural products.
Get my report on How to Lose Belly Fat and learn the five important steps to getting a flatter belly.