Sugar intake in the United States is way too high and the health consequences are devastating. According to the American Diabetes Organization (ADA), 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes. And specifically, among senior citizens aged 65 and older, 25% or 12 million seniors suffer with diabetes.
Also, 2 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. Overall, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
Furthermore, high sugar levels can also lead to obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, liver disease, tooth decay, sleep deprivation, ADHD, and depression. This is a frightening list of chronic diseases, and all because of too much daily sugar.
Why are sugar levels so dangerously high among Americans? Let’s take a look.
Sugar Intake: Depends On The Source
Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains contain natural sugars. Your body digests those carbs slowly so your cells get a steady supply of energy. Added sugars, on the other hand, come in packaged foods and drinks. Your body does not need any added sugars.
Indeed, The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar a day for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men.
But the average American gets way more: 22 teaspoons a day (88 grams). Unnecessary sugar is easy to overdo. You don’t even realize it. For example, just one 12-ounce can of regular soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar — and no nutritional benefits.
Sugar Intake: Bad Consequences, Obesity
Sugar-sweetened beverages are a big source of added sugars for Americans. If you drink a can of soda every day and don’t trim calories elsewhere, in three years you’re be 15 pounds heavier. Obesity can lead to problems like diabetes and some cancers.
One in 10 Americans gets 25% or more of their daily calories from added sugar. One research study found that you’re more than twice as likely to die from heart disease. The extra sugar raises your blood pressure or releases more fats into the bloodstream. Both can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other heart diseases.
Sugary drinks and foods with high sugar content can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. That can happen because when sugar stays in your blood, your body may react by making less of the hormone insulin, which converts the food you eat into energy.
High Blood Pressure
Usually, salt gets the blame for this condition, also called hypertension. But sugar can be just as dangerous.
Sugar raises blood pressure is by making your insulin levels spike too high. That can make your blood vessels less flexible and cause your kidneys to retain water and sodium.