Know the Health Risks of Consuming Too Much Sugar
There is too much sugar in the typical North American diet. Yep, you’ve heard this before!
Much of that sugar comes from added sugar – sugar that is added to foods and drinks during manufacturing, or sugar that we add to foods ourselves.
And, over the past 5 to 10 years, you’ve likely heard a lot about reducing sugar intake.
But other than the obvious issues – excessive calorie intake and weight gain – are you aware of the health risks of consuming too much sugar?
Consuming too much sugar can increase the risk of numerous health problems – including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and tooth decay.
Consuming too much sugar can lead to the accumulation of unhealthy visceral fat. This is the type of fat that surrounds our organs (liver, pancreas, intestines). Visceral fat interferes with the body’s ability to break down sugar and use it for energy. It also boosts the production of cholesterol in the liver.
Now a recent study has linked excessive sugar intake to an increased long-term risk of mental health disorders (including anxiety and depression) in men. (See the link below to learn more).
What can you do to help reduce your intake of added sugar?
Avoid regular intake of sugary drinks – save them for special occasions. Sugary drinks include soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened lemonade, sweetened iced tea and fruit juice.
Limit your use of packaged foods – consume mainly whole foods that are high in nutrition, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meat, poultry, fish, beans and legumes.
When buying packaged foods, compare Nutrition Facts tables and choose those with the lowest amount of added sugar.
Keep in mind that there is very little difference between types of sugar – honey and agave sugar are not any healthier than table sugar.