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New research shows a connection between the intake of certain kinds of sugars with obesity and other serious health risks such as cardiovascular disease and liver disease. In fact, health organizations now put more emphasis on restricting sugar than reducing dietary fat and cholesterol.
The American Heart Association and the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee have amended their recommendations to be more lenient with dietary fat and cholesterol, and stricter on the intake of added sugars which should be no more than 10 percent of daily calories.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is following suit, with a recommendation to include added sugar on nutrition labels. Predictably, the food industry disagrees.
The new recommendation for sugar intake of no more than 10 percent of calories each day amounts to approximately 50 grams or 12 teaspoons a day. Some research has indicated that Americans eat more than twice that, or about 30 teaspoons of sugar a day. Other studies tally sugar intake at 8 ounces a day which equates to roughly 180 pounds a year.
A 2014 study concluded that those who consume 25 percent of their daily calories from sugar were about twice as likely to die from heart disease as those who ate 7 percent of their calories from sugar.
Simple sugars, especially fructose corn syrup, are metabolized differently by the body and are more likely to be stored as fat. Fructose has been linked with abdominal fat, which causes a dysfunction in insulin sensitivity. Other ill effects of fructose include liver disease, high uric acid production which leads to high blood pressure, and kidney stress. Some research shows there is systemic inflammation in the body that can contribute to the development of cancerous cells and a number of chronic diseases.
The low-fat diet movement started the mass production of processed foods that were very low fat but loaded with sugar. We now know that replacing fat in your diet with refined carbohydrates such as bread, rice and sugary sweets can actually worsen your cardiovascular health.
Sugar intake is high in all demographic groups, according to research, with the largest source in soda and juice.
Health organizations now are trying to get people to look at their overall eating patterns, and pay closer attention to their intake of sugar. So whether you are trying to lose weight or stay healthy, eat a variety of foods in moderation and check the nutrition labels on the food you purchase.