Posts Tagged ‘added sugar’

If you do just one thing this year, give up soft drinks, all drinks with added sugar, and all drinks with artificial things in them (such as “vitamin waters”), and don’t allow your children to drink them, either. This could easily be the single most healthy thing you could do for your family.

I recently finished a wonderful and horrifying book called we the EATERS, by Ellen Gustafson. More on that in a later post. But the statistics she cites and that I’ve seen in other places are horrifying.

  • The amount of added sugar (not naturally occurring sugar in food or dairy products) that we ingest yearly has risen from 6.3 pounds/person/year in 1822 to over 100 pounds/person/year today. Between 1980 and 2005, the increase was 18%.
  • Ahh, desserts you say. But no. Almost half of the added sugar comes from sweetened pop/soda/soft drinks, energy and sport drinks, and fruit drinks.
  • A large soda from a fast food restaurant has between 17 and 20 teaspoons of added sugar, over three times the amount recommended for women by the American Heart Association and double that for men.
  • Sugary drinks are the largest single source of calories for teens (226 on average/day.)

What else has risen during this time period and has been shown to be tied to this inrcease? Heart attacks, weight gain, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and a host of other health problems. Studies also show that when we consume sugary drinks, we tend to eat more; hence the low price of them in restaurants, fast food or otherwise.

What’s bad for adults is worse for children with their smaller size and growth yet to go. We take pop out of schools, yet allow chocolate milk (take a look at the sugar content) and sports drinks. Prices kept low means that low-income families can easily afford these drinks, much to the detriment of their health.

The good news? Soda consumption has dropped.

The bad news? What’s being offered instead is just as bad. The companies who sell pop are now putting out “healthy” tea drinks and enhanced water drinks that are filled with sugar. A 20 oz. SoBe green tea has over 12 teaspoons of added sugar. The coffee drinks offered at Starbucks and other places that well them are crammed full of sugar.

More bad news. Soda consumption has spread around the world, pushing out healthier alternatives in countries where nutrition already suffers. And artificial sweeteners, while less caloric, come with their own set of deadly issues.

The bottom line? Whether to lose weight or just for other aspects of health, one of the easiest things you can do in 2015 is to cut drinks with added sugar out of your life. Check the bottle or cans and you’ll be shocked at the amount of sugar. Remember that the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women per day, no more than 9 for men, and no more than 8 for someone eating 2,000 calories a day!

Don’t add sugar to the coffee and tea you consume or at least add as little as possible. I drink tea daily and sweeten none of it.  It may take a bit of time for your tastes to adjust, but cut out a little at a time and you’ll soon be down to zero (or at least, every little.)  It doesn’t matter whether a company adds the sugar or you do, it’s still bad for you.

Finally, cutting out these drinks will save you lots of money, whether in food costs or future health care costs. So my health advice for you for the upcoming year is:

Cut it out!