In my opinion...YES! Here's why...(from an excerpt from my hospital's nutrition newsletter. Go SHS!)
"Sugar is considered a form of empty, unnecessary calories in the diet. Despite this, the consumption of sugar has tripled worldwide in the past 50 years. Recent scientific evidence believes that fructose, a dietary sugar often added to commercial foods and beverages, may contribute to liver toxicity as well as a multitude of other chronic diseases. The primary forms in which fructose is added to processed foods are high fructose corn syrup and sucrose. The use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has caused a lot of controversy, but Dr. Sanjay Gupta in a recent interview on “60 Minutes” states that the use of any added sugars in processed foods are equally toxic. Sugar contributes to all of the diseases associated with metabolic syndrome, a group of diseases that increase the risk for Coronary Artery Disease, Stroke and type 2 Diabetes, such as Hypertension, High Triglycerides, and Insulin Resistance. Many public health professionals are now placing added sugars in the same category as alcohol and tobacco in regards to its negative health effects and high costs on society. Metabolic syndrome is estimated to cost the U.S. $150 billion in health-care resources annually. Research also suggests that sugar contains dependence-producing properties in humans, acting on the brain to encourage increased sugar intake.
According to the USDA, it is estimated that approximately 16% of American’s total daily calories come from added sugars with the primary source being sugary beverages and grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies ,etc). Of course, a little sugar in an overall balanced diet is not a concern, but what is “a little”? Currently, the American Heart Association recommends that women have no more than 100 calories per day of added sugars (approximately 6 teaspoons) and men no more than 150 calories per day (9 teaspoons). Children should have no more than 4 teaspoons of added sugars a day. A 20 fl. oz. bottle of Coca Cola (the size most often sold in vending machines) contains almost 10 teaspoons of sugar; a bottle of Snapple Lemon Ice Tea contains 11.5 teaspoons. Both beverages exceed the recommended daily amount for all Americans. This is the reason why some health experts are encouraging the U.S. to begin taxing any processed foods that contain added sugars, similar to the use of taxing alcohol and tobacco products. Canada and some European countries already require additional taxes on some sweetened food products. Whether you agree with the idea to tax foods with added sugars or not, reducing added sugar intake in your own diet is a healthy move. See below for some tips on removing excess sugar from the diet.
Source: Lustig, RH, Schmidt LA, Brindis CD. Public Health: The toxic truth about sugar. Nature. 2012;482: 27-29.
Tips to Cut Back on Added Sugars:
Source: Today Health: MSNBC.com."
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