Who doesn't love the taste of sugar?
Do you know which royal court in history used refined sugar made from sugar beets as the royal drug of choice? Answer: Napoleon's. He loved it so much that he had the majority of the farmers plant sugar beets instead of their regular crops. It was their drug of choice and I would say it has come back in fashion. Sugar is no doubt addictive!
Sugar use in the USA, pound for pound.
It also might surprise you that in the 1800's the average American consumed 12 lbs. of sugar a year. By 1975 due to refined-food industry the average American went from 12 lbs. a year to consuming 118 lbs. of sugar a year. According to Robert Lustig, M.D., the average American consumes 141 lbs. of sugar a year which has wreaked havoc on our health. Here's what you really need to know...the more sugar you consume, the greater the negative impact on your immune function.
FYI - The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6-9 tsp. a day.
Sugar's effect on your health.
Consuming 110 grams of sugar (about 4 oz.) of glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey or even orange juice can significantly reduce the ability of your white blood cells to destroy foreign particles and organisms. Like what you ask? Bacteria, viruses, fungi, cancer cells, protozoa, and dead cells. And here's what's really scary...the effect can last up to 5 hours; the peak is 2 hours after consuming the sugar.
Junk food during pregnancy turns kids into junk food junkies.
According to “Medical News Today”, “new research published in the March 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that pregnant mothers who consume junk food actually cause changes in the development of the opioid-signaling pathway in the brains of their unborn children. This change results in the babies being less sensitive to opioids, which are released upon consumption of foods that are high in fat and sugar.
What does that mean? It means that these children are born with a higher "tolerance" to junk food and they will need to eat more of it to achieve a "feel good" response.” Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal said, "Junk food engages the same body chemistry as opium, morphine or heroin. Sad to say, junk food during pregnancy turns the kids into junk food junkies."
Sugar and children.
According to my favorite pediatrician, Dr Sears, here is why sugar is bad for children:
- It depresses their immune system
- It affects their behavior, attention, and learning
- It promotes sugar highs (adrenaline is released for 5 hours after consuming sugar)
- It promotes more sugar cravings
- It promotes obesity
- It promotes diabetes
- It promotes heart disease
Why the increase in sugar consumption?
Currently, more then ½ of the carbohydrates that are being consumed by most Americans are in the form of sugar added to foods as sweetening agents. Americans are over-consuming sugar on a daily basis without even knowing it. It is crucial to read food labels. Here is what to look out for on the ingredients label:
- corn syrup
- high fructose corn syrup
- white grape juice concentrate
If you see any of those on your labels, know that extra sugar has been added. For a full list: check out my class 12 Days To A Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby & Beyond - Prenatal Nutrition 101 class. Here I dig deeper into sugar as well as teach you what you should be eating and what you should be avoiding while pregnant so you can have the healthiest baby possible.
Guess how much sugar is in... I bet it will surprise you!
I was so shocked when I first saw this demonstration done when I was getting certified as a Dr. Sears LEAN coach. Grossed out really.
Keep in mind that each sugar cube represents 1 teaspoon of sugar. You do the math. You may be surprised! These popular drinks are one of the reasons Americans are over consuming sugar.
Where can you find how many grams of sugar is used in a product?
Look at the Nutrition Facts label.
Here is the formula we will be using; 4 grams of sugar = 1 tsp. of sugar.
Here is the Nutrition Facts label from a 32 fl. oz. of Gatorade. As you can see this drink has 21 Grams of sugar per serving. Now if you look at the serving size, there are 2.5 servings in this bottle. So this requires a little math. You'll be surprised how much sugar is in the bottle.
Wow! Now that's a lot of sugar! Who knew?
Now let's take a look at 4 popular beverages the average person likes to drink on a daily basis.
Remember that 1 cube represents 1 teaspoons of sugar.
Gatorade = 13.125 cubes
Minute Maid Apple Juice = 12 1/2 cubes
Coca Cola = 18 cubes
Ocean Spray Strawberry Kiwi Drink = 12 1/4 cubes
Water = 0
Ummmmmm... I don't know about you but I couldn't eat 12 1/4 teaspoons of sugar straight up. Could you? Then why drink it? All I know is that these drinks exceed the American Heart Association's recommendation of no more than 6-9 tsp. of sugar a day for an adult. If I were you, I wouldn't even go for 5 tsp. a day. Kids should have even less. Natural sugars in fruits are perfectly fine for little ones because they are loaded with nutrients and lots of fiber. They are good for you too.
Diets high in sugar have also been associated with inflammation, aging, obesity, yeast overgrowth, hypoglycemia, erratic behavior, poor concentration, learning disabilities, and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Are artificial sweeteners better for me?
Artificial sweeteners are made of chemicals and they have zero nutritional value. So my question to you is...
Do you want to feed your baby or child a chemical soup?
Hopefully your answer is no. Absolutely avoid sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners. They have a different effect on our brain than sugar does. Did you know that Aspartame (artificial sweetener) hangs out in your blood stream for 36 hours?
According to Dr. Russel Blaylock, a neurosurgeon, Aspartame acts as an excitotoxin to the brain. It basically gets the cells in the brain really excited. They start firing rapidly and die within an hour after exposure. Yikes! It may even trigger or worsen learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) disease and more.
Let me ask you, if Aspartame is doing that to adults’ brains, what does it do to a developing baby and child’s brain? According to Dr. William Sears, “They have NO PLACE in the diets of growing children.” Especially when you're pregnant.
More sugar surprises.
You would be surprised by the amount of sugar in kids' cereals. I couldn't believe it. If you are a cereal lover like me...Check out my other blog on ATTENTION! Are You and Your Kids Eating Dessert Cereal For Breakfast?
So what sweeteners are best?
In my family, we stick with sweeteners made by mother nature. Raw honey, grade B maple syrup, molasses, dates, coconut sugar and occasionally stevia (GRAS - generally recognized as safe).
But remember sugar is sugar so use it wisely!
Question: What are your thoughts on how much sugar the average American consumes in 1 year? Is it a good thing or bad thing? Should food companies be made to call sugar sugar rather than making up different names to trick us? Please leave your thoughts in the comment box. I look forward to reading what you have to say. If you found this article interesting please share it with friends and loved ones.
Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, ND with Lara Pizzorno, M.A., L.M.T. The Encyclopedia Of Healing Foods
Dr Sears LEAN Program developed by Dr William Sear, M.D. Coach’s information. http://www.drsearslean.com/
R.L. Blaylock, MD , Excitotoxins The Taste That Kills. (1997) Health Press NA INC. Alberquerque, NM
Connie Bennett, CHHC,CPC,ACC, Beyond Sugar Shock, (2012) Hay House. NYC.
President’s Cancer Panel written by Margeret Kripke< professor emerita THE M.D. ANDERSON CANCER CENTER. & Dr. La Salle Leffall Jr. of Howard Universisty College of Medicine. http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/pcp.htm
J. R. Gugusheff, Z. Y. Ong, B. S. Muhlhausler. A maternal "junk-food" diet reduces sensitivity to the opioid antagonist naloxone in offspring postweaning. The FASEB Journal, 2012; DOI: 10.1096/fj.12-217653