The CalorieKing Sugar Guide
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Health problems and sugar
Too much extra sugar can lead to health problems
Why should you limit your sugar intake to less than 10 percent of total calories per day? Aside from the “sugar high” effect on your body, which can be uncomfortable, research shows that too much sugar leads to several health problems, including:
Obesity. Sugar may not be a cause for weight gain per se, but foods that are high in sugar are often calorie dense and nutrient poor. Therefore, eating too many of them can easily lead to weight gain.
Several studies have recently recognised connections between excess consumption of sugar and obesity. For example, the Nurses’ Health Study II found that weight gain over a four year period was highest among women who increased their sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption from one or fewer drinks per week to one or more drinks per day and was smallest among women who decreased their intake.
Nutritional deficiency. When you consume too much sugar, you “crowd out” other foods that provide important nutrients, such as fruits and vegetables. This can be especially bad for children and teenagers who need nutrients for growth. For example, if a child chooses soft drink over milk she is missing out on vitamin D and calcium, both of which are essential for bone health. Unfortunately, people who are trying to make healthier choices by choosing diet and low-fat products are often trading a reduction in fat for an increase in sugar – added to enhance flavour. Make sure you check the label to see how much sugar, as well as fat, is in the product.
Hyperactivity. Does sugar “hype” you up? That’s a question which has been the subject of several studies, none of which could confirm a connection between consumption of sucrose (table sugar) and hyperactivity in children. But ask a parent if they see a change in their child’s behaviour after he drinks a can of soft drink or eats a few lollies, and you might get a different opinion! Some people also notice an increase in stress and tension in body and mind after consuming too much sugar.
Dental decay. Sugar is the biggest dietary culprit when it comes to cavities. Bacteria in plaque around the teeth metabolise sugars rapidly, creating areas of high acidity which erode tooth enamel. Brushing is too late to prevent this. Frequent snacking on sugary foods increases your risk, as do “sticky” forms of sugar such as caramel and lollies, which stay on the teeth longer.
Next: Hints to reduce sugar
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