As co-founder of BioTrust Nutrition, a certified nutrition specialist, and the author of Belly Fat Free, Josh Bezoni certainly understands the dangers of too much sugar in a diet. The amount of sugar that both adults and particularly children are ingesting everyday has skyrocketed in the last decade.
“It used to be that a sugary treat was something reserved for an after dinner dessert,” says Bezoni. “Today, sugar is being consumed in every meal and included in between-meal snacks. The amount of sugar in the average American diet is simply frightening.”
Intuitively, most Americans know they likely eat more sugar that they did even 10 years ago. Statistics from the Journal of the American Medical Association reveal that over the past 50 years, the amount of sugar in American diets has steadily increased. In 1950, the amount of sugar consumed per year by an average adult was just over 50 pounds.
By 1970, sugar consumption had jumped to 80 pounds a year. In 1990, it had risen to 110 pounds. By 2010, the average American was ingesting over 160 pounds a year. As sugar consumption increases, sugar-related diseases and illness keep pace.
There are a number of health conditions related to over consumption of sugar. One is the suppression of the immune system. Sugar reduces the body’s ability to defend against bacterial infection. Another health condition that can be brought on by too much sugar is cardiovascular disease. All told, there are over 140 conditions that are directly or indirectly related to eating too much sugar.
“It’s crazy, really. Man takes sugar cane or vegetables like corn or beets (which are full of fiber and various vitamins and minerals in their natural state), and completely strips them of all health-promoting properties,” says Josh Bezoni. “What’s left is a fast-digesting, highly addictive, nutritionally dead food that causes sickness and even premature death when consumed in excess.”
In the largest study of its kind, researchers at the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that elevated rates of sugar in the diet are directly linked to fatal heart problems. Moreover, the amount of sugar needed to increase the risk is not that great.
A person who normally consumes 2,000 calories a day will see their chances of having a fatal heart condition substantially increased by drinking just two 12-ounce cans of soda a day. In fact, the probability of dying prematurely from heart problems is almost three times greater for these folks than it is for people who consume moderate amounts of sugar per day.
Although the sugar industry claims there is no proven direct link between sugar consumption and diabetes, overeating of sugary foods can indirectly put a person on the path to type 2 diabetes. The body has to find a way to deal with the rush of sugar in the system, which affects insulin production.
Eating consumable sugar causes a steep rise in blood sugar level and the body overproduces the hormone insulin to "process" that blood sugar, get it out of the bloodstream, and into cells. As WebMD explains, when consumption of sugary foods is repeated continuously, the body becomes less sensitive to the hormone. This can lead to a condition called insulin resistance, which is the beginning of diabetes-like symptoms.
There is a direct correlation between the intake of sugar and the rise of obesity. In 1950, when Americans consumed a moderate amount of sugar, the percentage of the population that was considered obese was less than 10%. Fast forward to 2010, and the percentage of obese Americans is at a staggering 43%.
This rise in obesity is almost identical to the increase in the amount of sugar Americans consume.
“There is no way to overstate the need to reduce the amount of sugar in our diets,” says Josh Bezoni. “From potentially fatal conditions to reducing life expectancy, sugar is creating a generation of unhealthy and sedate people. The consequences both personally and on our healthcare systems are enormous.”
Experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) advise that sugars should make up less than 10% of total energy intake per day for adults and children. For adults of an ideal weight, this is the equivalent of around 50g (about 12 level teaspoons) of sugar. Cutting this intake to less than 5% would bring additional health benefits and is the ‘ideal’ amount that people should aim for.
Reducing the amount of sugar in one’s diet is the easiest way to improve overall health. This can lead to weigh loss, healthier skin, and reduce the risk of contracting potentially fatal diseases. As healthy lifestyle expert Josh Bezoni asserts, reducing sugar in the diet also leads to a better overall quality of life, both physically and mentally.