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July 26, 2013

How to cut back on the sugar in your diet

Pella —

Many people have a love-hate relationship with sugar. They may love how it tastes, but they also may hate the effects sugar can have on their bodies. As a result, many men and women would love to reduce their sugar consumption.

The American Heart Association reports that the average adult in the United States consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar every day, which equals 150 pounds per year. Teenagers consume even more, averaging 34 teaspoons every day. According to Statistics Canada, Canadians consume an average of 110 grams, or 26 teaspoons, of sugar daily. These numbers are more than twice the amount of sugar a person should be eating.

Healthy fruits, vegetables and some dairy products each contain sugar. But refined sugar is what can compromise a person's health. When more than 10 percent of a person's total calories come from added or refined sugar, this can prove harmful to both the mind and body.

University of California, San Francisco researchers estimate that the 130,000 new cases of diabetes documented between 1990 and 2000 could be attributed to the increase of sugar-sweetened drinks. Those who drink 1 to 2 servings of sweetened beverages are 26 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes than those who avoid such drinks.

According to a 2008 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, high-glycemic foods, or those that are quickly broken down into glucose by the body, can lead to elevated rates of breakouts and acne. That's because sugary foods and drinks may fuel inflammation and the production of excess sebum in the skin, resulting in pimples.

When a person consumes more sugar than he or she needs, the excess may be stored in the body as triglycerides, a type of blood fat. Both high triglycerides and low HDL levels contribute to the hardening of your arteries. This condition increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attack.

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