Is sugar affecting your health? According to the National Cancer Institute, Americans consume an average of about 22 teaspoons a day of added sugar, far exceeding the maximum of six teaspoons for women and nine for men that the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends. Health issues such as mood swings, rheumatoid arthritis and cavities can be affected by sugar intake, and the AHA says that added sugar is associated with increased risks of high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels.
To understand how much sugar you are consuming, start by reading labels and minimizing the products that list sugar as one of the main ingredients. Familiarize yourself with the other words that signal sugar: dextrose, glucose, sucrose, fruit-juice concentrate, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, beet sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and evaporated cane juice.
Also be aware of products that may seem innocent but often contain excessive amounts of sugar, including:
- Prepared and packaged foods – sugar is a flavor enhancer, so read the labels of flavored yogurts, cereal (including flavored oatmeal), frozen waffles and canned goods. Also be aware that many cold cereals that are regarded as unsweetened – such as many brands of corn flakes – contain significant amounts of added sugar.
- Drinks – juice, sports drinks and alcohol may all contain added sugar, as can coffee drinks that include anything more than coffee.
- Condiments – prepared salad dressings, barbeque sauce, ketchup, jams and jellies are common culprits.
Everyone's dietary needs are different based on a number of factors including lifestyle, diet, medications and more. To find out what vitamins you need, take the Weil Vitamin Advisor. This 3-step questionnaire requires just minutes to complete, and generates a free, no-obligation vitamin and nutritional supplement recommendation that is personalized to meet your unique nutritional needs.
Getting Your Diet Right
With a little focus and practice, your diet can be healthy the majority of the time. Start on the path to an optimum lifestyle – join Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for access to hundreds of healthful recipes – including desserts – and dozens of eating tips, articles and guides. Start your 14-day free trial now, and save 30% when you become a member!
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