As you may recall, in a recent blog, Your Guide to a Healthier Lifestyle, I stated sugar is one of the most abused drugs in this country. Let me take this opportunity to explain why. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. As if that amount isn’t shocking enough, the average child in America consumes 32 teaspoons per day. The American Heart Association daily recommendations are nine teaspoons for men, six for women, and only three to eight for children. That means children in this country are consuming 10 times more sugar per day than they should. That is alarming, and let me tell you why.

More than one-third of U.S. adults are overweight, most as a result of their sugar consumption, not fat intake. Unfortunately, some of us aren’t even aware that we’re consuming sugar. Did you know bottled spaghetti sauce contains sugar? In fact, some brands have as much as 12 grams of sugar per serving, which is the equivalent of three teaspoons. Sugar is also hidden in our beverages. Bottled tea contains up to 50 grams, that is more than the recommended daily amount, for just one bottle of tea. So, how do food companies get away with it? It’s simple really. The trick is in the labeling process.

Food labels are required to list their most prominent ingredients first. If sugar is toward the bottom of the list, don’t be fooled! Companies can avoid listing sugar as a main ingredient by listing it under different names, such as corn syrup or malt. So, when you see the word sugar toward the bottom of the list, don’t assume what you’re eating is healthy. It’s not. Here are just of the few of the many creative ways sugar is labeled:

  • agave nectar
  • fructose
  • fruit juice
  • glucose
  • honey
  • molasses
  • organic raw sugar

Sugar is not only a reason the majority of our country is overweight, but it also contributes to many other health issues. Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes. Seven million of those 26, don’t even know they have it. Sugar also suppresses the immune system, and promotes inflammation. Several studies have suggested sugar can increase risks of cancer.

The convenience of processed foods is not worth the long term effects sugar takes on our bodies. It is so important to educate yourself on the foods you are eating and their ingredients. Once again, may I suggest that if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t eat it. Also, try to stick with foods that contain five or fewer ingredients.

If you’d like more information on this topic, please contact our Indianapolis chiropractic clinic at 317.449.2020.

About Integrated Health Solutions

Dr. Charbel Harb is a licensed chiropractic physician and the Medical Director of Integrated Health Solutions. Our core belief is that each patient who walks through the doors is a person, not just a medical record or chart. Our greatest pleasure is bringing joy to our patients and helping them to fully embrace life, allowing them to enjoy each day: active, healthy and pain free.