Sugar: How much is still too much?

By: By Chick Gancer - Healthy Carolinians

The average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. Doctors will tell you that’s too much. A previous article in 2016, indicated how much sugar on a daily basis was in popular sodas, juices and other processed products. As some readers may recall, these beverages such as a 12 ounce soft drink (cola), may contain as much as 10 teaspoons or more of sugar.

More than 1/3 of Sampson County residents have Type 2 diabetes and 50 percent of us are overweight. Furthermore, diabetes is a national health concern accounting for 10 percent of U.S. health care costs. Americans now consume a total of 74 pounds of various sugars each year. The food industry continues to add sugar in varieties of packaged foods and beverages, accounting for 74 percent of these items containing some form of sweetener.

Let us focus on one category that seemingly leads the barrage of excess sugar in its container. Sodas and juices contain sugar measured by the teaspoonful. How do we know this? By simply looking at the grams of sugar listed on each nutrition label. A teaspoon of sugar is 4.2g (grams). So, when a 12 ounce bottle or can of soda shows it has a total of 40 grams of sugar, divide that by 4.2 and that equals 9.5 teaspoons of sugar.

The recommended daily consumption of sugar is listed as 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men per day. Thus, in either case, one 12 ounce bottle or can of soda or fruit juice far exceeds this target.

Consuming too much sugar can cause weight gain; may increase the risk of dying from heart disease; increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes; impairs the immune system to fight viruses, bacteria and parasites; and increases the risk of developing cavities.

Excess sugar can be avoided by reading nutrition labels; avoiding sodas or juices that have more than 24 to 36 grams of sugar; and opting to drink water instead. Remember, pure water contains no sugar additives.

By Chick Gancer

Healthy Carolinians