How is the intake of sugar excessive, and does that apply to you? We tend to take this life a day at a time since the stress of it, family responsibilities and work demands take the lion’s share of our focus. Eating often occurs hurriedly–a brief activity between tasks on our list.
To understand how excessive sugar has become in our everyday diets, look at the big picture. Consider the current annual intake per person with that of the past three centuries.The annual consumption of sugar per person in the 1700’s was four pounds. Compare that to 2009. The average annual amount of sugar per person was 180 pounds. That percentage of increase is a whopping 4400%.*
Sugar is an ingredient in almost all processed foods that take up the center aisles of the grocery store and what you order in a fast food restaurant. Unless you are shopping with health in mind as your family’s “quality control” food expert, chances are you’ve missed label reading 101. Take 10 minutes to scan the flour products, snacks, drinks (sodas, fruit juice, energy drinks), canned and frozen vegetables, canned fruits, nut butters, dairy products (ice cream, yogurt, etc.), processed meats, condiments and dessert items in your kitchen. It is rare to pick up any of these items and not see sugar or one of its other names in the list of ingredients. Often, you’ll find two, three or four different names for sugar per item. The most common are high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sucrose, sugar, maltodextrin, dextrose or any of 95 more names. Only when you consider the amount of this type of food you eat every single day, do you begin to see the big picture of sugar excess in the diet?
Let’s be conservative and say if you’re downing three cans of colas per day with an average of 15 teaspoons per can , you’re getting around 45 teaspoons of sugar right there. Many teenagers average six cans per day or around 90 teaspoons! You won’t notice teaspoons on the label; it will say grams. There are approximately 4.8 teaspoons of sugar per gram. Again, imagine the number of total grams in a day with all you’ve eaten in processed foods. It’s a real eye opener. From that perception, move on to the alarming rise in the rate of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity, all linked to increased sugar use. Of course it isn’t excessive sugar one day and disease the next. But, it occurs over a period of time. In the interim, you may have more cavities, fatigue, mood swings, tight muscles, bloating, headaches, lightheadedness, more frequent colds and other infections, and a list of other symptoms indicating a body out of balance for good reason.
Sugar-linked disease is a topic commonly reported in news arenas. One such example is an article entitled, “Excess Sugar Linked To Cancer,” which appeared February 1, 2013, in Science Daily. Three points stood out in the article: 1) High blood sugar is a known cause of diabetes and obesity, which in turn are linked to an increase in cancer risk. 2) According to epidemiological studies, the diabetic population has up to double chances to suffer pancreatic or colon cancer among others. 3) Scientists at University Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid have uncovered a key mechanism linking obesity and diabetes with cancer: high sugar levels, which increase activity of a gene widely implicated in cancer progression.
It’s not as though the general populace is totally unaware of the harm caused by high sugar consumption. Here is a small sampling of book titles conveying this negative message: Sugar Blues, Sugar Nation, 21-day Sugar Detox, Salt Sugar Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us, Sweet Deception, Pure, White and Deadly: How Sugar Is Killing Us, and Suicide By Sugar. Poor health to a large degree is due to excess sugar and a chemical stew. There’s a side of me that kicks in, having to put thoughts into rhyme. Summarizing the aforementioned thoughts, here it is off the top of my head:
It’s the 21st century. Now, what is this story?
Escalation of sugar use—details get gory.
18th century– one had 4 lbs. per year.
(That’s 1-lb. less than (1) 5-lb. bag. Clear?
19th century– jumped to 18-lbs.
Or, 3-lbs. plus (3) 5-lb. bags. That astounds.
20th century brought 90 lbs. each–
(That’s (18) 5-lb. bags. Quite a big reach!
2009? 180 lbs. in one year!
(Or, (36) 5-lb. bags— That’s severe!
Sugar is found in most all processed foods
causing obesity; impacting moods.
Avoiding sugar is really a chore,
unless you read labels when you’re at the store.
But it’s not so simple, for I can recite
Over one hundred names that it goes by. That’s right.
There’s one out of four in 2014,
deaths caused by cancer on America’s scene.
Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, too.
Sugar causes more than just these few.
Sugar feeds tumors research has shown
Candida loves sugar, makes symptoms full blown.
Check liver disease and premature aging,
Immune system lowers and brittle bones—raging.
The big concern is “refined and addictive”.
They’ll suggest artificial to be more restrictive.
These are even more toxic. Investigate, hear?
Brain and the nerves they’ll devastate, dear.
What is the moral to this truly sad plight?
Become empowered to treat your body just right.
We’re clearly ingesting what’s become a bane.
Get balanced, in good health, your body re-train.
There’s much to be learned, yet not out of your reach.
You can glean from a mentor who sure loves to teach.
You’ll start where you are and strategically go
to a place of good health, with you in the know.
The time is now, don’t deny or delay.
It is you who can make these changes today.
Make health a priority, it’s priceless and rare,
Live your life fully! Show others you care.
In its natural state, sugar cane has nutrients in balance. Once it undergoes the refining process, these nutrients are stripped away, leaving virtually a highly-refined, dead food. Sugar Blues by William Duffy, published in 1975, updated 1986, is most enlightening as well as any of the other books mentioned in this article. They continue to shout out the warning of a diet too high in sugar.
* ( To calculate percentage of increase: 1) 180-4= 176. 2) 176 divided by 4= 44. 3) 44 x 100%= 4400%.)