There is a tendency for us (the media, doctors, scientists, etc.) to get hyper-focused on a particular thing as being the answer to our health care woes. We pick out certain foods as either the solution to all of our problems, or the ultimate cause of all disease. In the past, the foods that have gotten all of the attention either fail to meet up to our high expectations, or prove to come up short as the one thing that has caused us all this sickness.
Years ago, fat was vilified. It was linked to all kinds of health issues. While some forms of fat are definitely not good for us (i.e. trans fats) the elimination of all fats, including the healthy, essential ones, led us to becoming fatter and sicker as a nation.
While there is no single cause of ill health, I believe sugar is a major player. As more and more information comes out, sugar will (and should) become the next Public Enemy Number One. The bad news is that it is very difficult to cut sugar out of your diet, but the good news is that reducing your sugar intake is a guaranteed way of improving your overall health.
In the early 1800’s, the average American consumed less than five pounds of sugar per year. We now consume approximately 130 pounds per person per year. Our bodies simply cannot adapt to that astronomic increase in such a relatively short amount of time. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 9.5 teaspoons of sugar per day. The average adult consumes 22 teaspoons per day, and the average child consumes 32 teaspoons per day. One twelve-ounce can of Coke contains an amazing ten teaspoons of sugar.
Obviously, too much sugar can lead to diabetes issues, but most people are unaware of its effect on other major health issues. Most would be interested to know that it is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. Want to lose weight? Cut down your sugar intake!
What else has refined sugar been linked to? Most people would be amazed to find that it has been linked to headaches, fatigue, depression, high blood pressure, acne, diabetes, hypoglycemia, nervous tension, violent behavior, and much, much more. We also know that sugar suppresses the immune system. This means increased sugar intake increases your risk for infectious diseases. You can click here to see 141 Reasons Sugar Ruins Your Health, by Nancy Appleton, author of Lick the Sugar Habit.
The truth about sugar is scary. Click here to see a well done infographic put together by Online Nursing Programs that sums up these, and more, startling facts. Roughly eighty percent of the food items in U.S. grocery stores contain added sugar. Sugar is added in large amounts in food products that might surprise you, like salad dressings, catsup, and other condiments. Sugar does make things taste better, but provides no vitamins, minerals, enzymes, or fiber. Once you consume foods with high levels of sugar, your blood sugar levels spike. What goes up must come down, right? Well, the sugar levels drop quickly, leading to an increased craving for more sugar and hunger. This leads to more eating, and this vicious cycle continues, leading to weight gain and ill health.
So whether you are interested in optimizing health, fighting illness, or simply losing weight, you might want to start watching your sugar intake. A reduction in sugar is a guaranteed way to improve your overall health. You will find that the pounds will start to melt away, your energy level will be more stable, your moods will improve, and you will feel much better.
The so-called experts have been wrong many times in the past when vilifying certain foods or food components, but when they make sugar the next Public Enemy Number One, they will be correct. Check out those links sited above and learn more about sugars.