7 Bittersweet Facts About Sugar


Sugar is one of life’s greatest blessings – and curses! Our bodies need one type of sugar, glucose, to function and survive. Dr. Kristina Rother, an National Institutes of Health pediatrician and sweetener expert states that: “Glucose is the number one food for the brain, and it’s an extremely important source of fuel throughout the body.” However, there is no need to consume glucose because the body makes its own by breaking down food molecules such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. While some foods such as fruits, vegetables and milk have natural sugars, they also provide other essential nutrients that make them healthy additions to your diet. So while sugar is not inherently bad, it has earned a bad reputation because humans consume so much of it, which significantly contributes to the obesity epidemic. So here are 7 sugar facts to help readers make more informed decisions and understand the severity of the impact of added sugar:

7 Sugar Facts

    1. About 15% of the calories in the American adult diet come from added sugars. (source) That equates to about 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men daily. One in 10 Americans gets ¼ of their daily calories from added sugar.
    1. Sugar-sweetened beverages are a major source of added sugar for Americans. (source) If you drink a can of soda everyday and don’t balance calories elsewhere, that can result in a 15 pound weight gain over 3 years!
    1. Child obesity rates in America have tripled over the past 3 decades. (source) One out of every six children are obese and one out of every three are overweight or obese. Sugar intake is a major contributor to the child obesity epidemic.
    1. According to a survey of parents, children in Pennsylvania get the most sugary snacks per week. (source) They averaged 22.862 sugary snacks per week and 3.266 per day. If you’re a parent, how many sugary snacks do your children get?
    1. High amounts of sugar can overload your liver. (source) Your liver metabolizes sugar the same way it does alcohol (which it considers a toxin or waste product). This means that while it is occupied with metabolizing sugar, it pushes other nutrients such as fat aside. Over time, fat accumulates and can cause fatty liver disease, which contributes to diabetes and heart disease risk.
    1. Sugar itself doesn’t harm your oral health, but it interacts with bacteria in a way that does. (source) When sugar is consumed, it interacts with the bacteria found in plaque and forms acid. This acid slowly dissolves enamel, creating holes, cavities, and overall tooth decay.
    1. The human brain evolved to perceive sugar and fat as very rewarding. (source) That is why it can be so hard to resist! Back when food was much more scarce, our ancestors needed to feel motivated in order to work hard to obtain high-calorie foods. Our brains are still wired for feast or famine despite the abundance of calories within reach. The most powerful way to activate the brain’s reward system is a combination of sugar and fat, which is why it can be so hard to resist or moderate such foods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *