Americans love sugar. It’s no secret that most of us consume far too much of it. But you might be surprised to learn just how many pounds of sugar the average American consumes in a year. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, people in this country consume 77 grams of sugar every day. That is 3 times the recommended limit for a total of 60 pounds of sugar each year!
Why is added sugar so bad for your health?
Health experts say it’s harmful in a variety of ways.
The Health Consequences of Too Much Dietary Sugar
While our bodies need sugar, it should come from natural sources — whole grains, fruits, and vegetables — not sugar added to our daily diet. Natural sugar gives us energy and powers our brain. But when we consume too much added sugar, it can wreak havoc on the body. It’s tied to a variety of health problems:
- Increased risk for heart disease and stroke
- Contributes to tooth decay and dental problems
- Linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Greater likelihood of developing diabetes type 2
- May cause damage to pancreas and kidneys
- Can lead to mood swings and irritability
How much sugar should you target in your daily diet and what steps can you take to cut back? We have some sugar-buster ideas that can get you on a healthier track.
Ways to Manage Added Sugar
While there is some disagreement about daily guidelines, it isn’t by much. In general, experts say you should limit added sugar in your diet to 25 grams per day for women and 36 grams per day for men. Once you start adding up how much sugar you are consuming in a day, you’ll likely discover it’s a much higher number than it should be.
Unfortunately, detoxing from sugar can sometimes be a battle. Much like other vices, you might have to start slowly and continue cutting back until you’ve conquered your sugar habit. Here are some tips you can use to better manage daily sugar intake:
- Commit to reading labels: After you get in the habit of reading labels, you’ll no doubt be surprised to find how many hidden source of sugar there are in processed foods. Condiments, cereals, and yogurt are 3 of the most common culprits. These tips from the Food and Drug Administration can help you learn how to identify total sugars and added sugars by reading the label.
- Experiment with spices: Instead of cooking with sauces and dips that might contain ingredients with sugar, try to experiment with different spices. Herbs are another way to give food flavor without adding more sugar to your diet.
- Kick the soda habit: Hands down one of the greatest sources of added sugar in the American diet is soda. A single can of Pepsi, for example, has 66 grams of sugar! Mountain Dew has 46 grams in one can. That’s double or more the amount of sugar you should be consuming in a day.
- Eat whole foods: Another great way to kick your sugar habit is by eating fewer processed foods. When your diet is rich with whole foods, you’re less likely to exceed the daily guidelines.
If you are searching for ideas to make your diet healthier, 5 Ways to “Sneak in” Fruits and Veggies will be of interest. From one pot meals to adding fruits and vegetables to baked goods, this article has useful advice.