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WEBucation Wednesday: The Skinny on Obesity (Episode 2)

Sickeningly Sweet

Dr. Robert Lustig illustrates the overabundance of sugar in today’s processed convenience foods and explains how our bodies metabolize these sugars in the same way as alcohol or other toxins, causing damage to the liver and other organs.

On average, Americans consume 156 lbs of sugar per year! That is 2.7 lbs per week and about 30 teaspoons a day! Since added sugar is present in nearly all processed foods and drinks, people consume a lot more than they realize. The abundance of added sugars combined with its addictive properties are what make sugar related illnesses a frightening epidemic. The World Health Organization has issued guidelines proposing adults with a normal BMI limit their daily sugar consumption to 24 grams or 6 teaspoons. A good equation to know: 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar. From 1985 to 2010, the average amount of calories consumed daily increased 8%; the number of diabetics increased 727%. The explanation for this is the rise in sugar consumption. Sugar is the only food that is both fat and carbohydrate. Sugar is made up of glucose and fructose. Glucose is used by all of the systems in the body, whereas fructose can only be metabolized in the liver. Sugar consumption overloads the liver, is converted to fat, and leads to mitochondrial diseases. Fructose is more like alcohol than anything else and is a toxin as the diseases associated with alcohol are also associated with fructose. As illustrated in this video, the biggest change in people's diets since the 1980s has been increased sugar consumption. The science behind sugar shows the damaging effects that it has on our bodies. When food manufacturers limited fat in foods, they replaced it with sugar and now, over thirty years later, it is nearly impossible to find any food that does not have added sugars. This is why preparing your own meals from scratch is the best way to eat healthy. Sugar is okay in moderation, but it way over-utilized in pre-prepared foods. Limiting your sugar and artificial sweetener consumption is key to being healthy. Sugar is sneaky because it goes by 65 different names and could be masquerading in foods without your knowledge, so when you are looking at nutrition labels, keep your eyes out for any of these added sugars.