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Filling a glass with cola and its equivalent in sugar cubes

Source: Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Getty

Last week we talked about the danger of food dye and wanted to circle back around to the sugar content as promised. Too much sugar is one of the key components to cardiovascular disease, not to mention obesity and diabetes. Keep in mind that sugar is already naturally in most of the foods we eat, so we don’t really need to be adding more in to our diets, except for special occasions. It is a substance that isn’t even needed in our diet; it literally serves no purpose. Even people suffering from both types of diabetes have to limit their fruit (fructose)intake, so that tells you how EXTRA sugar is not ideal.

Although sugar is not a drug, it is as addictive as one. It releases dopamine and opioids in our bodies. Because of this, evidence in studies is now proving it can be as addicting as most street drugs and affect our brains much in the same way.

Imagine for a minute when you make coffee or tea, how much sugar do you put in the cup? One spoonful? Two? Four? Holly Haze says, “In a 12 ounce can of soda, there are almost TEN spoonfuls of sugar, or ten packets of sugar! And that is just your old school can, now these are sold in jumbo bottles at triple the ounces. Sadly, most people get refills or drink more than one…so you do the math. Ok I will…that is almost 400 calories just in sugar alone”.

There is so much competition for soft drink sales now that the industry has focused on creating new products, such as special fruit juices, flavored milk, sports drinks, and energy drinks. Red Bull is one of those drinks. Originally, it was illegal in Germany because the regulators deemed it “speed in a can.” This just made the product seem even more appealing to particularly young Americans. There have been no restrictions on selling energy drinks in the U.S. The health risks that come with these drinks will have to be saved for another post, but do yourself a favor….don’t drink them, and don’t let young kids drink them!

Holly Haze says, “The marketing on these drinks is so misleading. If it’s not promising weight loss, it’s promising energy, rehydration, detoxification, increased metabolism, etc. If you take ANY type of marketing class, you know that the more cool the packaging, the better it will sell….label it with promises to easier health, and you’ve got yourself a gold mine. People ALWAYS want the easy and quick way and companies feed on that desire every day.”

Studies do show that sugar consumption is ridiculously high. In one test, 48 study participants were watched to establish baseline biomarkers and then assigned them to consume a diet comprised of 55% carbohydrate that included three beverages sweetened with glucose, fructose, or high fructose corn syrup for two weeks. The beverages represented 25% of the daily calorie intake. After two weeks, cholesterol and triglycerides had increased in the groups consuming beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and fructose. Sugar consumption like this contributes to higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and something called fatty liver disease. These are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

Sugar is definitely a bad ingredient, but also avoid the fake sugars. Holly did an entire post about artificial sugars. (just click on her page and look for Sweet Poison) She says, “there are some really great options out there, even for baking, but sugar and it’s artificial form are a big no-no. Just avoid it. No good comes of it!”

Take away tips from Holly: “sugar is HIGHLY addictive…limit it to 100 calories of sugar a day….ballpark. Avoid it at any chance you can, it comes with a slippery slope”.