By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern
Hopefully we all know by now how much damage an excess of sugar can cause to our bodies. Harvard’s “The Nutrition Source” gives us the run down of what our daily sugar habits look like, and what they should look like if we want to keep our bodies healthy.
“The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which amounts to an extra 350 calories…”
To put things in perspective, I want you to stop and think for a minute about what it would be like to eat 22 teaspoons of sugar by itself. Yuck, right? The picture above has approximately 22 sugar cubes, each cube equaling 1 teaspoon.
It would not be a good time if you put those all in your mouth and tried to dissolve and swallow them. So why do we put this much sugar in our bodies in other ways in the first place?
“While we sometimes add sugar to food ourselves, most added sugar comes from processed and prepared foods. Sugar-sweetened beverages and breakfast cereals are two of the most serious offenders.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended that Americans drastically cut back on added sugar to help slow the obesity and heart disease epidemics…
The AHA suggests an added-sugar limit of no more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar) for most women and no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar) for most men.”
These recommended amounts of sugar should come from natural foods, like fruit and other whole foods, not from processed foods. It is pretty easy to hit your small quota for sugar each day just by consuming 1 apple and a couple additional slices. Your body DOES actually need this small amount of sugar. It is only when it is consumed in excess that it starts to cause problems.
Sugar is an addiction that can be as hard to quit as alcohol and drugs. When we grow up eating it in processed foods, our body cries out for more when we try to take it away. Read through our collection of Fill Your Plate articles below to learn more about how you CAN quit eating so much sugar, and why cutting down on it will give you so many more benefits than consuming it in excess!
Find more nutrition articles on Fill Your Plate’s blog!