Sugar, You’re Breaking Our Heart!
By CareerSmart Learning Contributor, Feb 26, 2015, as published by Healthcare Hot Spot
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease claims a life every 90 seconds in the United States, totaling more lives lost each year than all cancers combined. Recently, a 15 year study completed by the CDC firmly linked added sugar to a sharp increase in cardiovascular disease.
How Much Is Too Much?
Americans who consume more than 21 percent of their daily caloric intake in the form of added sugar double their risk of heart disease and death. Twenty-one percent may seem like a difficult number to reach, yet consuming a single 20-ounce soda per day equates to a diet with a 15 percent added sugar intake. A diet consisting of a 15 percent added sugar intake causes a 38 percent increased risk for cardiovascular disease, according to the study.
With over 100 names for sugar and sugar alcohols, most prepackaged food contains sugar in one form or another, including inconspicuous items like tomato sauce and soy milk. Despite an already sugar-laden diet, most Americans consume 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day. The AHA recommends no more than six teaspoons per day for women and nine teaspoons per day for men. That’s approximately 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories per day for men.
Putting It In Perspective
The AHA notes that over the past 30 years, Americans have added more sugar to their diets than ever before. The good news is that 70 percent of Americans have an estimated added sugar intake of 10 percent, which is in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organization.
The bad news is that at least 10 percent of Americans are estimated to have a daily added sugar intake of 25 percent or more. To put those numbers in perspective, the U.S. population as of 2014 was roughly 319,000,000 and growing. That means that approximately 31,900,000 people are eating more than double the recommended amount of added sugar each day and have a 50 percent higher chance of developing heart disease.
A Change In Perspective
While many people are aware that too much sugar causes obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, the study by the American Heart Association is one of the first to significantly link heart disease and excessive sugar intake. Avoiding sweetened drinks (the largest source of added sugar in Americans’ diets), dairy and grain-based desserts, yeast breads, candy, and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals is a great start to cutting added sugar from the diet. Currently, there is no mandatory food label listing for the amount of added sugar; however, the FDA is proposing adding this to all food labels. Many major food manufacturing and the sugar industries are opposing this change, citing the difficulty to calculate added sugar and that there is no dangerous properties in sugar. A change in perspective concerning reduced sugar intake is needed for healthy nutrition and can be brought about by knowledgeable healthcare professionals and further research.
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