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By Shannon Pierce
Ketchup, barbecue sauce, jellies, jams, sodas, salad dressings, tomato sauce, canned vegetables. Is there a food that doesn’t sneak in added sugar to your diet? Here are a few dangers of consuming too much sugar, and how your physical and mental health can benefit from limiting your intake.
The AHA, or the American Heart Association warns us that the average adult in the U.S. eats 150 pounds of sugar per year, about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Teens typically eat 34 teaspoons per day. These amounts are double what we should be eating!
So, what does all that added sugar do to your body?
All of those sweet drinks we love, such as iced tea, soda, juice and sport drinks can actually make you more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes. The journal, Diabetes Care, found that in a study of 310,000 participants, those who drank one or two servings of soda per day were 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-soda drinkers.
Sugar also greatly affects our waistline. The Journal of the American Medical Association tells us that people who consumed 17.5% of their calories from added sugar were 20-30% more likely to have high levels of a fat found in your blood, triglycerides. When we have more sugar in our blood than we burn off, the sugar turns into triglycerides, which are then stored in our fat cells. When we cut sugar from our diets, we often benefit from cutting food and drinks that are high in calories and low in nutritional value. When those sugary foods are replaced with more nutrient dense foods, the number on the scale drops.
Aside from your jean size, your mood can greatly benefit from cutting sugar. Instead of the rollercoaster ride that your blood sugar goes on when consuming sweets, smart meals and snacks will provide more stable energy and a clearer mindset.
In addition to your mood, your stress levels are greatly impacted by sugar. High-sugar intake is no help when trying to deal with anxiety symptoms. Reducing your sugar intake provides the fighting power necessary to manage stress and symptoms of mental health issues.
Your digestion will also improve when you watch your sugar intake. When you eat sugar, it inflames your stomach, ferments, and doesn’t digest well because it isn’t a normal nutrient. Your tummy becomes quickly discomforted.
Don’t forget to consult your doctor before drastically or suddenly changing your diet!
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