For anyone heading back to the gym to start the process of getting their body out of pandemic hibernation mode, the following information on added sugar, is for you!
Added sugars are found in processed foods. They contain only four calories per gram, similar to protein, but when consumed in surplus, those calories can become “toxic in the body”. According to the American Heart Association, Americans eat an additional 355 extra calories a day from simple carbohydrates. The by-product of this is among other things, potential weight gain. Added sugar has been reported to decrease testosterone levels in men by 25 percent. We know the impact it can have on conditions like diabetes and risk of cancer. Too much can also negatively affect the cells in our body, a study in 2009 found a positive association between glucose consumption and the aging of our cells. A 2012 study in the Journal of Physiology linked too much sugar to deficiencies in cognitive health.
It has been said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” To help prevent all the various side effects from eating too much added sugar, it’s important to have an idea of how much you’re consuming in the added sugar department on a daily basis. The easiest way to do this is to start reading food label, then start monitoring the amount of daily added sugar (in grams). Put yourself on an added sugar budget especially prior to Summer & Holiday seasons.
Our craving for sugar has increased 39% between 1950 and 2000, according to reports from the USDA. The average American consumes about 156 pounds of sugar each year (about three pounds of sugar each week). The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends less than 10 percent of daily calories come from sugar and for the majority of people this is about 50 grams a day. Keep in mind that just one can of soda contains up to 40 grams (around 10 teaspoons) of sugar. WHO further suggests that “a reduction to below 5% of total energy intake per day would have additional benefits.” This should be your goal, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Finally, be aware of the following guidelines.
Cutting back on added sugar will help you look and feel better as well as improve your workouts as you head back to the gym.
- Focus on eating about 2.5 grams of added sugar per 100 calories.
- Men = Consume <150 calories (38 grams) a day of added sugar or about 9 teaspoons a day.
- Women = Consume <100 calories (25 grams) a day of added sugar or about 6 teaspoons a day.
Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association
Lustig, R. (2012). Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease
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