Ok, you now know that sugar has a bittersweet reputation when it comes to health. Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. Consuming whole foods that contain natural sugar is okay. Since your body digests these foods slowly, the sugar in them offers a steady supply of energy to your cells.
However, problems occur when you consume too much added sugar — that is, sugar that food manufacturers add to products to increase flavor or extend shelf life.
In the American diet, the top sources are soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, cereals, cookies, cakes, candy, and most processed foods. But added sugar is also present in items that you may not think of as sweetened, like soups, bread, cured meats, and ketchup.
The result: we consume way too much added sugar. Adults and children may take in an average of 24 teaspoons of added sugar per day, according to the National Cancer Institute. That's equal to 384 calories of just sugar!
Excess sugar's impact on obesity and diabetes is well documented, but one area that may surprise you, is how your taste for sugar can have a serious impact on their heart health.
So what do you do now?