Health Problems Caused By Sugar
When I was growing up going out to eat was a special treat. And for me, the sweetest part of the meal came from little sugar packets on the table.
Although intended for coffee or tea drinkers, they also made great appetizers. When my parents were distracted I would rip one open and pour the little crystals in my mouth.
My clandestine behavior probably didn’t do me much good, but what if I had downed 29 of those little packets every single day?
That’s about two packets every waking hour of the day, over 10,000 sugar packets (at 1 teaspoon each) a year. I can’t imagine eating that much sugar!
But — crazy as it sounds — as of 2020, America’s teenagers’ are averaging 87 grams (29 sugar packets’ worth) of added sugar per day. All other age brackets also exceed their 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommended levels.
This CDC study of 15 years of sugar-consumption surveys found people who eat high amounts of added sugar double their heart disease risk. The American Heart Association advises no more than nine teaspoons of added sugar a day for men and six for woman and teens.
The key phrase, however, is “added sugar.”
Many plant-based foods contain natural sugars. The difference, according to Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s Whole, is that natural sugars in fruit come packaged with a mind-boggling amount of micronutrients.
Not the least of these is fiber, which helps our bodies process and absorb the sugars and micronutrients. Refined sugar stripped of fiber and nutrients provides nothing but empty calories that do more damage than good.
So does giving up sugar require limiting your recipe sweeteners to bananas and berries? Not at all, according to Dr. Michael Greger:
“There are… two health-promoting sweeteners… that are actually good for you: molasses and date sugar.”
And of the two, he continues, “The healthiest sweetener on the planet is date sugar. Date sugar is not really sugar; it’s just whole dried dates, pulverized into powder.”
So, the next time you dine out, simply push those sugar packets off to the side and order a bowl of fruit instead. Or if you must, bring along some date sugar to sweeten your tea!