What do cake, ketchup, soda, soups, cereal, and processed fruit juice have in common? What counts for over 14% of the average adults daily calorie intake? That’s right, added sugar! Sugar is the most popular ingredient added to food in the United States. Although sugar is not directly linked to any serious health problems, it does contribute to the intake of too many calories, which can lead to diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Sugar should only account for 10% of our daily calorie intake and is over-consumed by almost every American.
In the 1800s, an adult would consume around 2 lbs. of sugar per year on average. A short 200 years later, the average person now consumes 156 lbs. of sugar per year! That’s about 42.5 teaspoons of sugar per day, when the recommended amount is about 13 teaspoons per day. How can this be our fault, though, when a can of soda contains about 8 teaspoons of sugar all by itself? In fact, 33% of our added sugar intake comes from soft drinks. Soda, lemonade, sports drinks, and even fruit juices all contain an unhealthy amount of added sugar!
I am a total sweet tooth who could munch on Snickers Bites and those delicious Peanut Butter Oreos all day, but all the health risks of this diet make the choice of carrot sticks over carrot cake an easy one! Don’t let all this sugar negativity confuse you, though. This natural sweetener contains many benefits and is essential for survival! In fact, sugar balances our skin’s oils and keeps us blemish-free. Sugar also gives you a boost of energy, but this will wear off after a short period of time.
All in all, it is necessary to consume sugar in moderation, but the average American consumes too much, putting their health at risk. A random splurge is acceptable as long as you monitor your intake on a daily basis. Let’s be honest though, what’s a birthday without the cake?!