It's time to cut back on the sweet stuff. (Photo: Yahoo)
No one is under the illusion that sugar is good for you, but lately, study after study has been hammering home just how detrimental sugar is to our health. Take the latest research published today in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, which found that added sugars are a principal driver of Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes — even more so than other carbohydrates.
“This is the first comprehensive literature review showing that even when keeping calories the same, i.e., isocaloric exchange of starch for sugar, sugar is worse at promoting diabetes and the associated morbidity, including neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy and pre-mature mortality,” James J. DiNicolantonio, study author and cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, tells Yahoo Health.
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The sugars found naturally in whole foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose) aren’t the issue. In fact, they’re likely protective against diabetes and cardiovascular risk, according to the Mayo Clinic study. The problem lies with added sugars, which are exactly what they sound like: sugars and syrups that are put in foods during processing or added at the table, such as with sugar and honey.
We’re consuming too much added sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that women have no more than six teaspoons of added sugar a day (nine teaspoons for men). But the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day, which adds up to an extra 355 calories, according to research in the journal Circulation.
Food ingredient labels don’t make it easy since they don’t distinguish between natural and added sugar (though the proposed changes to the labels would fix that). What’s more, added sugar comes in many forms, from high fructose corn syrup and evaporated cane juice to maltose and dextrose. A good rule of thumb: If the food doesn’t come from nature (think: apple) and sugar is listed in the ingredients, there’s a good chance that it contains added sugar.
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