Why You Need to Fall Out of Love With Sugar

Forget making you fat: Sugar is bad for your heart.Remember the low-fat trend? As average consumers, we believed the hype that “low-fat” was healthy, so we ate cardboard flavored pseudo-food which contained a surprising amount of preservatives, additives, and sugars.

Big surprise: We didn’t lose weight.

Now, the tables have turned. We have good fats and bad fats; but more and more, when we hear about sugar, there is only the bad.

No one would argue that eating too much sugar will cause a person to gain weight. But according to a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine, sugar is now considered an independent risk factor for many chronic diseases.

How Much Sugar is Truly Unhealthy?

It’s hard to say, really. Reputable organizations vary in their recommendations.

  • Institute of Medicine: Sugar should make up less than 25% of your total caloric intake.
  • World Health Organization: Sugar should make up less than 10% of your caloric intake.
  • American Heart Association: Sugar should make up no more than 100 calories of a daily intake for women and 150 calories for men.

In any case, chances are good that we’re eating more sugar than we should. According to statistics, Americans consumed 15.7% of their total intake as added sugars from 1988-1994. After a slight rise, sugar consumption decreased to 14.9% between 2005 and 2010. Still, most adults consume 10% or more of their total calorie intake as sugar, and 1 in 10 consume more than 25% of their calories as sugar.

 Participants who consumed 17-21% of their calories as sugar had a 38% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease than those who only consumed 8% of their calories as sugar.

Sugar and Your Cardiovascular Health

Laura Schmidt, a professor of health policy in the School of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, commented on these findings.  “Too much sugar doesn’t just make us fat; it can also make us sick.”  Though the FDA has not set any limits on “safe” levels of sugar intake, Schmidt states, “Until federal guidelines are forthcoming, physicians may want to caution patients that, to support cardiovascular health, it’s safest to consume less than 15% of their daily calories from added sugar.”

In real terms, how would a 15% consumption equate?  One 20-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew for a person on a 2000 calorie-per-day diet.

It sounds like many of us are eating and drinking much too much sugar.  If you’re having trouble cutting out the sugar in your life after several attempts, perhaps taking a supplement is in order.

Supplements That May Help Curb Sugar Cravings

Before starting any supplement regimen, check with your health care provider.  Many have found success with the following:

  • Magnesium:  Many Americans aren’t getting the minimum RDA of 400 mg of magnesium.  Common symptoms of magnesium deficiency are cravings for sugar and/or chocolate.
  • Probiotics:  Women are susceptible to yeast imbalances in the body, which can lead to sugar cravings.  A quality probiotic can correct the yeast imbalance.
  • L-Glutamine:  Glutamine is an amino acid that your body naturally produces – except when under significant stress.  Lack of glutamine in the body can make a person reach for sweets for comfort.  Dr. Frank Lipman recommends 100-300 mg. every few hours, as needed.
  • Other possibilities:  Cravings for sugar may be indicative of low chromium levels, Omega-3 or vitamin D deficiency.

We care about your health!  If you’re having trouble breaking the sugar habit, talk with your doctor and speak with us about your options.  We’re here to help!


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