Corn syrup, Dextrose, Fructose, Barley Malt…What’s In A Name?
courtesy of maxliving.com
We Eat Too Much Sugar!
The average American eats almost 152 pounds of sugar a year. That’s nearly half a pound every day, or about three pounds every week.
Put that into perspective: Two centuries ago, we ate on average just two pounds of sugar every year!
Some experts call added sugar the single worst ingredient you can eat. The “added” sugar you might find on Nutrition Facts labels of foods, this means it is sugar that doesn’t naturally occur in food and the manufacturer added more.
Plant foods, like fruits and vegetables, have naturally occurring sugar, but they also have other nutrients to help reduce the effect sugar has in your body. Sugar is also called glucose, and when you eat sugar, the hormone insulin is released and turns the sugar into energy for your body. The problem is when you eat more sugar than your body needs, it raises your blood sugar levels, gets stored as fat, and creates numerous other health problems. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber in plant foods help slow down sugar absorption and provide other health benefits.
Processed foods with added sugars often don’t provide these nutrients. These products sometimes contain naturally occurring sugar. However, the added sugars in these products can be natural or manufactured chemically.
Overall, these added sugars provide a large number of calories, but no fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. They can actually deplete essential nutrients.
“Added Sugar” Damages Your Metabolism
About 74 percent of packaged foods contain added sweeteners. These foods crowd out healthier food choices. They damage your metabolism, create weight gain, and increase your risk for diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Hormones & Weight Gain
Nearly 40 percent of American adults are obese, which increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers.
Eating too much sugar can also knock fat-regulating hormones out of balance. Your body converts sugar into glucose, which raises a hormone called insulin. When your insulin levels stay high from eating too much sugar, your body stores those excess sugar calories as fat.
Insulin impacts another hormone called leptin, which is your natural appetite suppressant. Leptin tells your brain to stop eating. But when leptin stays high, your brain doesn’t hear the message to stop eating, so you reach for seconds or thirds of that favorite dessert.
When these and other hormones are shocked because you are eating too much sugar than they can handle, they mess with your hunger signals so you eat more foods — especially sweets.
For some people, added sugar creates craving and withdrawal. In fact, the changes sugar can create in your brain resembles the addiction to drugs such as cocaine and alcohol. When you eat sugar, your brain literally craves more sugar.
How Much Sugar Should You Eat Daily?
The average American eats 17 teaspoons of added sugar daily. That’s more than many organizations recommend.
The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests no more than nine teaspoons of added sugar for women and nine teaspoons for men daily. For children, those limits should be three to six teaspoons depending on age.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that less than 10 percent — and preferably less than five percent of an adult’s calories — come from added sugar.
To put those amounts into perspective, one brand of yogurt contains seven teaspoons of sugar in a single serving, most of it as added sugar.
Sugary Drinks, Soda, Sports Drinks, Sweetened Ice Tea
Many processed foods contain added sugar, but what you drink can dramatically increase your sugar intake. In fact, about one-third of added sugars come from soft drinks.
A 12-ounce soda has 11 teaspoons of added sugar, more than the AHA or WHO recommends for an entire day. Most likely, you’ll find 20-ounce or larger cola sizes these days. You absorb sugar from liquids more quickly, which makes it easy to drink more than you should and not feel full.
People who drink sugar-sweetened beverages regularly, such as colas, also eat more calories, exercise less, smoke more, and have a poor overall diet.
Colas aren’t the only sugar-beverage offender. Many other drinks you might drink regularly and even consider healthy — orange juice, lemonade, sweetened iced teas, fruit juices, and sports drinks — can contain almost as much if not more sugar than regular cola.
Sugary sodas, fruit juices, and other sugar-sweetened beverages are also higher in fructose, usually as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Your body breaks down any type of sugar you consume into two simple sugars: Glucose and fructose.
However, your body uses glucose and fructose differently. Most cells can use glucose for energy. Not fructose, which goes straight to your liver, where it can create problems.
Fructose can also make you gain weight because excess amounts get stored around your belly and other organs within your abdominal region or midsection. Fat in that region can also increase your risk of disease.
The Problem with Hidden Sugars
If you eat a cookie or a piece of cake, you’re aware of how much sugar that food contains and its impact on your body. As a result, you limit yourself to eating treats like this on special occasions. If sugary foods make you want seconds or thirds, you may avoid them altogether.
So, you try to limit eating sugary foods or skip them altogether. You stick with unsweetened beverages or even water and feel you are being healthy.
But…you are probably still consuming more sugar than you think.
Since you know sugar is bad, food manufacturers will put sugar in many processed, packaged, and fast foods under the disguise of different names.
Many foods that pretend to be healthy, in fact, actually contain added sugars. In fact, food labels contain at least 61 different names for sugar. Some of these names are: sucrose; high-fructose corn syrup; barley malt; dextrose; maltose; and rice syrup.
These added sugars show up in things you might not imagine, such as wheat bread, green drinks, smoothies, yogurt, and dried fruit. Breakfast cereals, sports drinks, instant oatmeal, coleslaw, and sauces like ketchup are other sneaky sugar sources.
To reduce your intake of added sugars, look at the ingredients and Nutrition Facts label. Do not pay attention to what the front of the label says. These are manufacturers’ claims to make you buy their product and create the illusion of healthiness.
Thankfully, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made this process easier. Whereas, at one time all sugars — naturally occurring and added — were added together under “sugar”, new Nutrition Facts labels now list “added sugar” separately.
To find that amount, look under carbohydrates. You will find three things listed:
Total sugars — the amount of naturally occurring and added sugar in one serving
The Problem with “Zero Sugar” or “Sugar-free”
Eating too much added sugar can make you gain weight, increase your risk for disease, and much more.