You add it to your morning coffee, bake it into desserts and sprinkle it on oatmeal. It lurks in breads, soda, fruit juice, meats, condiments and even some “health” foods.
What is it? Sugar.
Sugar might be tasty, but it can wreak havoc on your health – both physically and mentally.
Eating too much sugar causes a spike in insulin to the bloodstream. This extra insulin can affect arteries by causing their walls to grow faster than normal and tense up, which adds stress to your heart and damages it.
All this insulin, over time, can even cause the liver to become resistant to insulin.
Consuming too much added sugar has also been shown to worsen joint pain, as it can cause inflammation in the body.
While the occasional candy or cookie can give a quick pick-me-up, if you’re reaching into the candy jar too often, the sugar may start to have a negative effect on your mood. Studies have linked a high sugar intake to a greater risk of depression in adults.
“Added sugars are really the main concern. Most of us know we should limit soda, deserts, candy, baked goods, etc., but many Americans don’t realize a lot of sugar is added to products like juice, bread, salad dressing, tomato sauce, protein bars, flavored yogurt, cereal and more,” said Sarah Baker, Civilian Health Promotion Services health promotion coordinator.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars. On average, Americans consume more than 13 percent of daily calories, almost 270 calories per day, from added sugars. Sugar consumption is particularly high among children, adolescents and young adults. The main sources of added sugars in U.S. diets are sugar-sweetened beverages, desserts and sweets.
Diets lower in added sugars and higher in nutrient-dense foods and beverages can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nutrient-dense foods and beverages contain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and other beneficial substances that may have positive health effects. Some examples are beans and peas, eggs, fruits, lean meats and poultry, seafood, unsalted nuts and seeds, vegetables, and whole grains.
Breaking the added-sugar cycle can be difficult – eating sugar gives your brain a huge surge of a feel-good chemical called dopamine, which can cause serious cravings.
CHPS is arming personnel with ways to combat added sugars in a class this month call “Sugar Shock!”
In this class, discover the truth about sugar: why sugar seems to be everywhere, how much is too much, common foods and ingredients to avoid and if some types of sugar are better than others.
“This topic is extremely important for everyone to be educated on,” said Baker. “Many diseases and conditions have been linked with overconsumption of sugar. These classes will give participants the tools necessary to make better nutrition choices for themselves and their families, including how to spot ‘hidden’ sugar in foods and how to reduce intake,” said Baker.
Sugar Shock! is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on:
Aug. 16 – Bldg. 16 (Area B) Room 143B
Aug. 16 – Bldg. 262 (Area A) Room B217
Aug. 29 – Bldg. 571 (Area B) Classroom 3
Aug. 30 – Bldg. 2 (Area A) Civilian Personnel MPR
Check out www.AFMCWellness.com for more information about CHPS services, or contact CPHS at 937-904-3959 or CHPSWrightPatterson@foh.hhs.gov.
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