Do you know that the United States has a high incidence of type 2 diabetes in adults and children, and out diet plays a significant role in this preventable disease? Let’s take a look at how our high sugar intake contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.
According to the American Heart Association, American adults consume an average of 77 grams of sugar per day, more than 3 times the recommended amount for women. This adds up to around 60 pounds of added sugar annually – that’s six, 10-pound bowling balls. The numbers are even worse for children. American kids consume 81 grams per day, equaling over 65 pounds of added sugar per year. Children are ingesting over 30 gallons of added sugars from beverages alone. That’s enough to fill a bathtub. This extra sugar is coming from:
Beverages are the leading category source of added sugars (47% of all added sugars):
Snacks and sweets are the next biggest contributor of added sugars at 31%.
How does the body react to so much sugar?
It all comes down to how fast the sugars get absorbed. For example, your body spends more time digesting an apple because of the fiber content, so the natural sugar absorbs more slowly. On the flip side, the added sugar in soda arrives all at once in your system like a sugar bomb. All that extra sugar gets converted to glucose much more quickly and increases blood sugar level. When there is too much sugar and too little insulin to work on to the sugar, there is a buildup of sugar in the blood causing diabetes.
Shoppers tend to look for alternate products made with honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar or turbinado sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and dextrose, for example, are perceived as healthier choices. However, too much sugar is too much, no matter the source. Plant-based sweetener like stevia or monk fruit are “generally recognized as safe” based on published research, a conclusion which has been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The American Heart Association’s recommendations for sugar intake.
Let’s monitor our sugar intake to help reduce the risk of diabetes in children and adults alike.
American Heart Association (2022), “How much sugar is too much?” Retrieved from: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/how-much-sugar-is-too-much.
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