Good health is all about moderation, which is what we need to live longer,
fuller lives. That means putting a damper on the amount of sugar we consume
each day. But that’s not as easy as giving up dessert; sugar hides
in many foods.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a maximum intake of 25 grams
of sugar daily –about five teaspoons. But each day, the average
American consumes up to 22 teaspoons of sugar. In a year, that adds up
to more than 100 pounds of the sweet stuff. That’s the weight of
an average 11-year-old!
Eating too much sugar contributes to obesity, which in turn raises the
risk of a host of health issues, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure,
and heart disease.
"If you check the labels on some of your favorite foods you might
be surprised to find that they contain large amounts of sugar," says
Blanca B. Bisuna, MD, a family medicine physician at
Mission Heritage Medical Group in Mission Viejo. Condiments such as ketchup can have up to 3.7 grams
of sugar in one teaspoon, instant oatmeal as much as 16 grams in a serving,
and some fruit juices and iced teas pack a whopping 54 grams per bottle.
"Always read the labels," suggests Dr. Bisuna. "Knowing
exactly what is in the food that you put into your body will help you
avoid all kinds of unnecessary health risks," she says.
"The processed and raw sugars found in baked goods, soft drinks, condiments
and cereals don’t actually have any nutritional value," Dr.
Bisuna continues. "The real value of sugar is found in natural sources
such as fruits and vegetables, which supply a more nutritious source of
Dr. Bisuna recommends giving up or cutting back on the processed and raw
sugars and swapping them out for more natural ones. Look out for food
labels that list things like sucrose, glucose, maltose, lactose and dextrose
-- these are just different ways of saying "sugar."
"If you need to sweeten up your meal, honey, agave and naturally occurring
maple syrup are rich in antioxidants which can actually help fight the
free radical damage that has been associated with the development of cancer,"
Dr. Bisuna suggests.
Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet rich in natural grains and fish, coupled
with regular exercise, is a winning recipe that promotes longevity as
well as physical and mental well-being.
Check out this infographic for more information:
Find out more about
Dr. Bisuna. Find out more about
Mission Heritage Medical Group.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.