Sugar. It is in just about everything that we eat. Fruit, vegetables, milk, and especially the processed foods that have become the main staple in many of our diets. There are a plethora of different types of sugars: granulated sugar, mono and di – Saccharides , glucose, fructose, and pure cane sugar. These are the few that I found in my pantry, the full list is excessive to the extreme, and sadly, hardly anyone besides perhaps nutritionists know what these sugars mean, and in what way there affect our bodies.

During my visit to America this summer, I was distraught by the overload of sugar that most Americans included in their diet. I tallied it up, and my average was around 250 – 300 grams of sugar per day. This included natural and refined sugars, but I still had no idea what to think of this number. Was it normal, or was this an outrageous sum? So, I decided to research.

It didn’t take me more than one search to find that, according to the World Health Organization, my sugar intake was blown out of the water. What I found is that the average daily allowance for refined or processed sugars (the type of sugar that was added by the manufacturer on purpose and did not occur naturally) is about 25 grams.

These refined sugars are the surags that we want to be wary of. Natural sugars are actually necessary for maintaining bodily functions, and are good for us, for they naturally come in a form that is easy for our body to breakdown and assimilate. Refined sugars on the other hand, are like foreign invaders that our body wants nothing to do with. These sugars harm us by  destroying bone marrow and causing obesity and diabetes by pumping us full of additional calories without any nutritional benefits. These sugars also account for an increasingly large portion of our sugar intake. Today, our diet is far more processed than it is natural. Just take one look in your pantry or fridge and you will know what I mean. Processed foods also contain much more sugar than their natural counterparts. This combination leads to the overwhelming majority of the sugar that we eat to be refined.  In fact, 16 percent of the average American’s diet comes from added sugars according to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 2010. In my case, I tallied one day, that 190 out of my intake of 250 was refined sugar.

Lets look at the WHO’s recommended daily allowance of 25 grams of refined sugar. Let me put that value in perspective. If you wanted to keep your levels at or below this value, you could only eat or drink one of the following per day: half of a can of soda, one fruit yoghurt, half a Snickers bar, one and a half pieces of bread,  or 2 tablespoons of jelly. Remember, you can only have one of those, and then you have exceeded your daily allowance.

Food manufacturers have been trying very hard to keep us in the dark regarding how much sugar you should be having. Sugars are the only value, besides proteins, that do not have a percentage of the recommended daily allowance next to them on nutritional fact sheets on food products. They load their products with sugar, because they know once you have enough, you will be craving more, for sugar is highly addictive. That is why, you, the consumer of these overly sugary products must know how you are being cheated out of good health, and take matters into your own hands. I encourage you to read labels, and see how low you can bring your sugar intake down. Added sugar is considered by many, the single worst ingredient in modern diets, and when it comes to such a harmful substance, less is definitely better.

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