Added Sugars In Foods Associated With Increased Risk Of Health Problems, Study Shows

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Health experts universally agree that added sugar should not form a significant portion of one’s diet. Americans consume an average of 17 teaspoons of sugar daily, nearly three times the recommended limit. The hidden nature of added sugars in processed foods makes it challenging to recognize their actual intake.

Excessive added sugars increases risk of health issues

Recent research highlights that excessive added sugar intake, exceeding six teaspoons daily, significantly raises the risk of 45 health issues, encompassing heart disease, diabetes, and depression.

To reduce added sugar intake, the initial focus should not be on eliminating obvious sugary foods like cookies and cakes, as they should be consumed in moderation. Instead, the first step is to learn how to identify added sugar on food labels because some seemingly unassuming foods like tomato sauce and bread can also add to overall sugar consumption.

In food products, sugar can be disguised under over 60 different names, making it difficult to identify. Words ending in “ose” such as dextrose indicate added sugar. Syrups and juices also contain sugars. When checking a Nutrition Facts label, the total sugar grams are listed, but it doesn’t distinguish between added and naturally-occurring sugars. However, the label is helpful for determining the overall sugar content per serving.

Natural sugars should not be avoided

The most common aliases for sugar that one can find in stores include barley malt, cane sugar, invert sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, hone, fruit juice concentrate, brown sugar syrup, dextrin, brown rice syrup, glucose solids, dextrose, glucose, maltodextrin, and rice syrup.

Due to its association with health issues, some mistakenly believe that ALL sugar, including that naturally found in whole fruits, is harmful. Natural sugars found in whole fruits, vegetables, and dairy products should not be avoided unless medically necessary. They contain minimal amounts of sugar, along with essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Added sugar is linked to health issues, but it shouldn’t be confused with natural sugars. To reduce sugar intake, focus on being mindful of added sugars in processed foods and adjust your diet accordingly.

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