Too much sugar is not good for you. You probably already knew that, but how much is too much?
The American Heart Association suggests that women limit sugar intake to 100 calories, or 6 teaspoons a day, and that men should limit their consumption to 150 calories, or 9 teaspoons. To put those numbers in perspective, one 12-ounce can of cola has 130 calories, or 8 teaspoons. Americans are currently taking in an average of 22 teaspoons of sugar per day.
High sugar consumption contributes to the growing problem of obesity, which leads to a host of medical problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. It’s a complicated issue. It’s not only the consumption of high sugar foods and beverages we have to consider, but the essential nutrients we are lacking when we replace healthy foods with empty calories.
Children who are overweight are at greater risk for health problems at a younger age. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation reports that nearly one in three children and teens in the United States are overweight or obese, and more children are developing conditions or diseases typically associated with adults.
If you’ve got children, think about substituting an apple for chocolate cake. Water instead of high-sugar drinks. Normal size portions rather than super-sized. And you might want to do the same with your own diet. The Centers for Disease Control offers these Tips for Parents to help children maintain a healthy weight:
* Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.
* Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products.
* Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein.
* Serve reasonably-sized portions.
* Encourage your family to drink lots of water.
* Limit sugar-sweetened beverages.
* Limit consumption of sugar and saturated fat.
There are an infinite number of things that are out of our control when it comes to health care. This is not one of them. It is entirely within our power to pay attention to what we consume, to read labels, to educate ourselves about what we feed our bodies.
The American Heart Association has provided the guideline. Six teaspoons a day for the ladies, nine for the men. Can you… will you… cut out the sugar rush?