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Sugar Sugar

Posted by bmagnus On August - 26 - 2009

The American Heart Association has caught up with what most diet and fitness experts have known for a long time. Americans in general consume too much added sugars, and it is not good for us! This extra sugar is empty calories, and it contributes to obesity, high blood pressure, and other heart disease risk factors. Moreover, when we consume lots of sugary foods and beverages, we aren’t ingesting things that are good for us, like fruits and vegetables.

Added sugar comes from a lot of places. More than just “the white table sugar you might spoon into a cup of coffee or a bowl of cereal,” it’s the sugar in cookies, cakes, candy, ice cream, soft drinks, energy drinks, and even some foods we consider “healthy” such as flavored yogurts, snack bars, even salad dressings, soups, and instant oatmeal. You will find it on ingredient lists under such names as corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, sucrose and of course sugar.

While “the science directly linking added sugar consumption to obesity is inconsistent,” there is no denying that Americans consume on average 355 calories of added sugar daily compared to the AHA recommendation of 100-150 calories. That’s a gap of 205-255 calories each and every day. Since a pound of fat works out to about 3500 calories, it doesn’t take long for that extra sugar to make a measurable difference on the scale.

Some are critical of the AHA announcement, calling their recommendations unrealistic, hypocritical, and political. Nevertheless, cutting added sugar is a vital step in weight loss.

Her Take: for a long time now I have said that Dean Ornish and the other low-fat diet proponents have never said you could lose weight by eating Twizzlerslow in fat! — instead of a Snickers bar! Every weight loss plan that actually works involves drastically cutting if not eliminating sugar intake. For various physiological and psychological reasons, that’s hard for some people to do, but it is a necessary first step. It’s not possible to get the body to use stored fat for energy when there is plenty of freely available sugar in the bloodstream.

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