Did you catch the article on sugar in last week’s Sunday Phoenix newspaper? It reported on a recently published study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looking at sugar consumption and deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The researchers followed approximately 11,000 American adults for nearly 15 years, measured their sugar consumption, and recorded their deaths from CVD. The results were statistically adjusted for known risk factors of CVD like age, sex, ethnicity, smoking, etc. Compared to those who consumed less than 10% of their calories as added sugar, the increased risk of death from CVD was 30% for those who consumed 10 – 25%, and 175% for those who consumed over 25%. The increased risk of 175% means that you are nearly three times as likely to have a fatal heart attack. This finding was independent of sugar’s contribution to obesity which is itself a risk factor for CVD, so applies to “skinny” as well as overweight people.
What does this mean in terms of our diet? The World Health Organization recommends we get less than 10% of our calories from added sugar. Americans consume on average 15.5%; Canadians are somewhat better at 10.7%. Average of course means that half of us consume more than 10% and half of us less. Which half are you in?
According to the Mayo Clinic calorie calculator for a “somewhat active” man of 200 lbs, I need about 2500 calories a day. Ten % of this would be 250 which translates into 67 grams or 15 teaspoons of sugar. I could get over 15 teaspoons from just one can of pop (6-8), a chocolate bar (5-11) and a chocolate chip muffin (4-5). And these are the obvious sources – sugar is also added to ketchup, cereals, and even some yogurt. Learn to read the labels! Remember, if you are shorter or less active than I am, your 10% would be less. And that 10% should be a maximum – there is no lower limit for sugar consumption. Less (sugar) is definitely more (health).
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.