The fact of the matter is that Americans are eating too much sugar as a whole. For many people in the US, their diet has been getting steadily worse over the years. The average diet for an American has become too high in calories, and it does not contain enough of the nutrients and other essentials that we need to stay healthy. These diet trends have been having a disastrous effect on our population. In 2007, it was estimated that 57 million Americans had pre-diabetes. As of 2011, the estimated number of people with pre-diabetes has grown to 79 million! At this stage, the body’s blood glucose levels are higher than the healthy level, and you are at serious risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
It is a myth that eating too much sugar is a direct cause of diabetes. While sugar may not be a direct cause, a diet that is high in sugar can lead to obesity, which in turn can lead to increased risk of diabetes. The rate of obesity in the country has been steadily rising over the last several years, and it continues to go up. The number of cases of type 2 diabetes in the US has been climbing in positive correlation with the rate of obesity. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form, accounting for about 90% of all cases. A majority of type 2 diabetes patients are also overweight. A person who is at an unmanageable weight is putting themselves in a lot of risk. This excess weight can make it harder for the body to produce and use insulin effectively.
Obesity and Diabetes Stats in the United States
The current estimates are that there are 25.8 million people in the United States who are affected by diabetes. That is 8.3% of the entire US population who have diabetes. Only 18.8 million have actually been diagnosed, which means that there are 7 million people who are undiagnosed. These numbers are quite shocking, and as the rate of obesity keeps going up, the number of T2D cases is expected to continue to increase. Also, be sure to check out some of the diabetes organizations worth knowing about!
Back in 1915, the average American consumed roughly between 15 – 20 pounds of sugar annually. Now the USDA estimates that the average amount of sugar consumed in a year is 156 pounds! Looking at these numbers, one may not be as shocked to learn that roughly one third (35.7 %!!) of the American population is considered obese. The rate of obesity has skyrocketed among children and adolescents as well with an estimated 17% or 12.5 million now considered obese.
Diabetes is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. In 2007, diabetes was listed as the underlying cause of death on 71,382 death certificates. That year, diabetes was listed as a contributing factor on 160,022 death certificates. So in the year 2007, diabetes was in some way involved in the deaths of 231,404 deaths! With diabetes, your overall risk of death is about doubled compared to other people in the same age range. This may also be the reason for the increasing number of diabetes clinical trials.
The Sugar Content in Some Foods May Shock You!
Taking a trip to your local grocer, you may be very surprised at what you see if you took a look at the nutritional information for some foods. Many items, which a lot of people assume are generally healthy, can contain a lot more sugar than you’d expect. The info-graphic, How Sugar Has Been Changing America, lists more than 10 food items which are surprisingly high in sugar. For example, it probably won’t come as much of a shock to learn that a can of Mountain Dew contains 46.5 grams of sugar. If you have ever tried one, you’d know that it is one surgery beverage! So how about a drink like Sobe Energize Green Tea? That sounds like a drink that should be relatively good for you right?? In fact, a 20 ounce bottle of Sobe Energize Green Tea packs a whopping 61 grams of sugar! That is about the same as adding 15 sugar cubes to your tea! Pardon me, but would you like some tea with that sugar?? Be sure to check out the info-graphic as it lists a number of other surprising food items that pack a surgery punch.
Sugar Substitutes – How Safe Are They?
Product name: Sweet N Low
Key Ingredient: Saccharin
Negative Characteristics: According to FDA reports, the key ingredient saccharin had been linked to cases of bladder cancer in lab tested animals; this was what prompted the health warning label on sweet n low packages back in 1977. The label was removed back in 2001, and there have been studies suggesting that it doesn’t cause cancer in humans, but the dangers of saccharin remain controversial. While saccharin has been currently “delisted” as a carcinogen in humans, there is still increased risk in some small sub-groups like heavy users of these artificial sweeteners.
Product name: Equal
Key Ingredient: Aspartame
Negative Characteristics: There are reports that Aspartame which is used in artificial sweeteners like Equal could be toxic. It has been investigated as a possible cause of mental retardation, brain tumors, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, diabetes, and fibromyalgia. Since it was first approved by the FDA, Aspartame has stirred up a lot of controversy.
Product name: Splenda
Key ingredient: Sucralose
Negative Characteristics: The debate continues over how thoroughly sucralose was tested by the FDA. Basically the long term effects of splenda are still unknown. Some tests have shown atrophy of lymph follicles in the thymus and spleen, signs of shrunken thymus glands, increased cercal weight, and lowered red blood cell count among other things. In diabetics, Splenda can cause an increase in glycosylated hemoglobin, which could harm that person’s control over their condition. There is chlorine in sucralose, which means consuming a large quantity could be toxic.
Product name: Truvia
Key Ingredient: Stevia
Negative Characteristics: Truvia is still a relatively new product, but so far it has been linked with some gastrointestinal issues such as causing gas, bloating, and constipation in users. These effects have been reported with consumption of large amounts of truvia. Some other possible side effects could be headaches and exhaustion. Since Stevia is an herb, some people may experience an allergic reaction from consuming Truvia.
Product name: Brown Sugar
Brown raw sugar is a natural sweetener developed from sugar crystals of molasses syrup. This is a good substitute for regular white sugar for a few reasons. First, brown sugar contains fewer calories than white sugar. Since this is the unrefined form of sugar, it retains a higher nutritional value. There are also other natural components contained in the brown sugar that make it beneficial to human health.