The TRUTH About Sugar
The American Heart Association’s new recommendations for maximum daily added sugar is 24 grams for women and 36 grams for men. Why? Take a look at the effects of sugar on the body according to a March 2014 article in Prevention Magazine (p 32):
- Kidneys: Sugar overload can damage the kidney’s delicate filtration system.
GOOD TO KNOW: Diabetes is one of the MAIN causes of kidney failure!
- Joints: High sugar diets pump inflammatory cytokines into your bloodstream, which can exacerbate arthritis.
GOOD TO KNOW: The more fat you carry, the more wear and tear your joints endure!
- Brain: Sugar can rewire the brain’s reward pathways.
GOOD TO KNOW: People who consume diets with high-sugar or mostly processed foods have been found to be at a 58% higher risk for depression according to the British Journal of Psychiatry.
- Heart: Sugar inflames the linings of the arteries to the heart, increasing the risk of coronary artery disease.
GOOD TO KNOW: High sugar levels impair the arteries’ ability to respond to the heart’s need for more blood flow and make arteries and platelets stickier resulting in increased risk of stroke or heart attack.
- Skin: When sugar bombards the body, proteins incorporate it as part of their structure.
GOOD TO KNOW: Glycation (the process of proteins incorporating sugar as part of their structure) ages and weakens the skin, causing sagging and wrinkles.
Sugar has been proven to have toxic side effects in the body, but sugar can be hiding in your diet in the least likely places! And even “sweet” foods and drinks that don’t seem very sweet to you could pack more grams than you’d think. That McDonald’s sweet tea so many people love — nearly 70 grams of sugar! That’s about 22 individual packs … and one 20-ounce soda accounts for about the same. That’s three times the recommended daily allowance and that doesn’t count all of the other sugar you’re taking in throughout the day.
Be careful even of products marketed as healthy, reduced sugar, low fat, etc because just because there is less sugar doesn’t mean the sugar content isn’t still high. Also be aware of the sugar content in things like protein shakes/bars, cereals, condiments (like ketchup), and sauces because those can be ridiculously high as well. And remember that sugar is converted by the body into energy — if you aren’t expending that energy through activity, it will then convert that unused energy into fat!