The average American consumes about 17 teaspoons of added sugar each day.1 That adds up to about 67 pounds of added sugar each year! At first glance, it seems like we are eating a lot of candy, cookies and cake. But in reality, many of us are drinking, rather than eating, all that excess sugar.
The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting calories from added sugar to about 10% of our total calorie intake.2 For someone on a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet, that’s about 12 teaspoons (50 grams) per day. But what we pour into our cups and glasses leads us to exceed those limits routinely.
Did you know?
Plus, check out these surprising comparisons:
And we drink them all down without a second thought, despite the fact that the leading source of our added sugar intake is sugar-sweetened drinks.2
It’s important to differentiate between naturally occurring and added sugar. Naturally occurring sugars are found in sources like whole fruit and milk (fructose and lactose), while added sugars can be found in processed foods and drinks like breakfast cereal, canned fruit, granola, canned baked beans and sodas, among many others.13 It is generally not necessary to avoid naturally occurring sugar, as it is digested slower, keeps your metabolism stable and comes from sources that have other necessary nutrients like fiber and vitamins. However, added sugars add on nutrient-lacking calories and cause a blood glucose level drop soon after eating, known as a sugar crash, which then leads to cravings and harmful habits.14 Unfortunately, many of our favorite drinks are full of these added sugars.
Regularly consuming excess added sugar can lead to obesity and negatively affect the liver, leading to Type 2 diabetes.15 It is also a contributing factor to heart disease, and excess body weight from overconsumption of sugar can increase your risk of cancer.16
So, what can we do to avoid overindulging in liquid sugar?
Here are five tips to help you dial back on this sweet problem that’s adversely affecting our collective health.
Eliminating liquid sugar from your diet takes a little planning and a lot of willpower. However, aligning your habits with the nutritional needs of your body helps improve your overall health and decrease risk of disease, making the effort well worth it.
GuideStone® cares about your health. We believe that when the body of Christ is healthy, it is free to transform the world. That’s why each of our health plans includes wellness tools and resources designed to keep you healthy and ready to serve. See how GuideStone’s Christian health plans are designed to meet your needs and allow you to maintain your biblical beliefs.