On average, Americans consume more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day. This amount equates to more than 56 pounds of sugar consumed per person annually! To further break it down, this means that the average American’s 2,000 calorie diet is made up of 18% sugar. EIGHTEEN PERCENT.

The World Health Organization recommends that no more than 5% of your daily calories come from sugar — this equals approximately 100 calories for the average person. Read on for 5 things you didn’t know about sugar:

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Sugar

1. Sugar can damage your heart.

A study published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Heart Association proved that sugar can actually damage the pumping mechanism of your heart, which can eventually lead to heart failure.

2. Sugar specifically promotes belly fat.

Did you know that adolescent obesity rates have tripled in the last 30 years, and childhood obesity rates have doubled? A 2010 study found that excess fructose intake from children caused visceral fat cells to mature — increasing the risk for a larger belly, heart disease, and diabetes.

3. Sugar is a silent killer.

Excess fructose consumption has been linked to a condition called leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that tells your body that it’s had enough to eat. Unfortunately, many of us ignore the signal from leptin, which eventually leads to overconsumption and obesity — and this can all happen without any signs or alarms!

4. Sugar consumption has been linked to cancer production and may effect cancer survival.

When too much sugar is consumed, the body’s insulin doesn’t work correctly. There has been well-documented connections between insulin resistance and cancer. A study done in 2013 found that sugars in the intestine triggered the formation of a hormone called GIP, that increases insulin released by the pancreas.

GIP contains a protein called β-catenin, which is completely dependent on sugar levels. Research found that β-catenin may affect a cells susceptibility to cancer formation.

5. Sugar and alcohol have similar toxic effects on the body.

The authors of a study published in 2012 in the journal Nature found evidence that fructose and glucose consumed in excess can have a toxic effect on the liver as the metabolism of ethanol (the alcohol contained in alcoholic beverages).


Simple Ways to Cut Sugar Out Of Your Diet

With all of this in mind, it’s time to ask yourself, is sugar worth it? Of course it isn’t! With a few minor diet changes you can reduce your sugar consumption, decrease your risk of disease, and have a healthier heart.

Try these 5 easy, sugar-reducing steps to help decrease your sugar intake today!

1. Cut out sweetened beverages. 

Almost 40 percent of the added sugar in American diets is from sugary drinks such as soda, sweet tea, lemonade, and juices. Just one 12-ounce can of soda contains 140 calories, all of which are from added sugar.

The American Heart Association recommends that women limit their added sugars to less than 100 calories per day, and for men to limit their added sugars consumption to less than 150 calories per day. That means that drinking just one can of soda meets or exceeds the limit!

Cut out these sweetened beverages and replace them by drinking regular water, or water flavored with fresh fruit! Your health (and waistline!) will thank you.

2. Buy plain foods and sweeten them yourself.

Change up your grocery list and start purchasing items that are unsweetened, not just foods containing calorie-free sweeteners. Greek yogurt, oatmeal, and almond milk are typically easy to find unsweetened versions.

If you can’t make the switch to going completely unsweetened, try added a bit of honey or maple syrup to your yogurt or oatmeal! These will not only naturally sweeten them, but they’ll provide nutrients and antioxidants to your body.

3. Identify hidden sources of sugar.

Sugar. Is. Everywhere. It hides in all types of foods, even foods marketed as “healthy” for you! At this point in time, nutrition labels are not required to tell how many calories in a food come from added sugar.

Grams of sugar can also be deceiving, because labels aren’t required to tell consumers the difference between naturally occurring sugar and added sugar.

In order to find added sugar in foods, read the ingredients list. Key words that indicate there’s added sugar are: brown sugar, corn syrup, maltose, fructose, dextrose, molasses, agave, brown rice syrup, cane sugar, cane syrup, and evaporated cane juice.

Ingredient labels must list ingredients in descending order by weight, so the higher up an additive is, the more sugar the food contains. Buyer beware!

4. Swap sweetened foods for naturally sweetened fruits. 

It isn’t difficult to replace foods packed with sugar for fruit, which is naturally sweet! An example of this is that one tablespoon of jam contains 50 calories and usually has 3 sweeteners: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and sugar. You can easily substitute melted down frozen strawberries for jam and eliminate any added sugar while adding vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants to your diet.

Search Pinterest for other quick and simple sugar swaps!

5. Limit sugar filled treats to once a week.

Desserts happen. By simply setting limits on how often you allow yourself to indulge in a sweet treat, you can limit your sugar intake. Choose one day a week to let yourself indulge in a small, sweet treat. Often, just knowing that you’re allowed to have a pre-planned treat helps you stay focused and on track the rest of the week!

At Pure Health Clinic, we firmly believe that healing the body starts from the inside. Your spine and your diet play key roles in your overall health and your body’s communication.

Call our office today at (810) 588-4036 or email us at info@thepurehealthclinic.com to schedule your consultation and appointment today! We want you to live your best life possible and believe chiropractic can help. Your health matters.