Some Lesser Known Health Effects Of Eating Too Much Sugar

2012-10-19 | |
Last updated: 2012-10-19

Public health officials in the majority of Western countries are currently directing considerable amounts of energy towards reducing the amount of sugar that people eat. It is well known that lowering sugar consumption is of importance in maintaining good oral health. In the battle against obesity, sugar is also a well-publicized target because it provides energy but no nutrients.

While most people have heard the message that they should be consuming less sugar, consumption of excess sugar is still very common. This is unfortunate because weight gain and cavities are by no means the only health effects that are linked to excess sugar consumption. Having a diet that includes too much sugar puts people at a higher risk for quite a number of health problems.

How Much Sugar Do People Typically Consume?

In first world countries, sugar consumption has been increasing for hundreds of years and in the last 50 years alone, the amount of sugar eaten by the average American has tripled. As of 2008, each American was consuming approximately 136 lb or 62 kg of sugar and corn syrup every year. This amount of sugar represents between 17% and 30% of the daily calories that each of us consume. In contrast the World Health Organization recommends that no more than 10% of our daily calories should come from sugars. Clearly, the amount of sugar we are using is generally excessive.

However, the levels of sugar consumption do vary by person. According to research by the University of Washington, males generally consume more sugar than females. As well, those with lower household incomes are 70% more likely to consume higher levels of sugar than those with higher incomes. As well, African Americans were more than 3 times more likely to use excess sugar than Caucasians. Related research by the US National Cancer Institute found that individuals with an Asian background were the least likely to use excess sugar.

Most importantly, however, higher levels of sugar use were associated with lower levels of education.

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Category: Disease Prevention, General Health, Health Risks, Medical Research

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