Don?t be alarmed?but something?s hiding in your food. From the cereal you had for breakfast to the dressing on your salad to the ketchup on your fries, an addictive substance is lurking in many foods that you?d never suspect.
Far more loathed than fat or cholesterol these days, sugar has become public enemy No. 1 when it comes to the health of America. In fact, in our effort to listen to doctors? orders (and government guidelines) to consume less fat and less cholesterol, Americans turned to ?healthy? low-fat foods that were actually loaded with sugar.
In its recent report, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee cited sugar as one of our biggest health concerns and recommended that sugar make up 10 percent or fewer of our daily calorie intake. The American Heart Association recommends that no more than half of your daily discretionary calories comes from added sugars (about 6 teaspoons or 100 calories for women, and 9 teaspoons or 150 calories for men). But we?re eating way more of the sweet stuff than that: The CDC reports that the average American eats between 13 and 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day (around 230 calories for women, and 335 for men).
In its natural state, sugar is a relatively harmless?even necessary?carbohydrate that our bodies need to function. It?s found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy as a compound known as fructose or lactose. The problem comes when sugar is added to foods during processing for added flavor, texture, or color. This is more common than you may realize?you don?t have to be in the candy aisle to be surrounded by added sugar.
Eating too many of these empty calories has many health effects, the most obvious being major weight gain. Added sugar drives your insulin levels up, messes with your metabolism, and causes those calories to turn right into belly fat. And while losing weight is well and good, that?s just the beginning of the health benefits of cutting back on the sweet stuff. Below are 21 more legit reasons?besides fitting into skinny jeans?to tame that sweet tooth for good.
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