Sugar's Health Risk

  • We protect our children from alcohol, tobacco and guns, but not Big Soda, which is extremely insidious and cares nothing about the carnage it causes.  (Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, , "U.S. Can't Kick Sugar Habit," by Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post, January 2017)

  • Kids are getting way too much added sugar in their diets, according to a new report from the CDC, and that could raise their risk for obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.  Consuming added sugars has been tied to an increased risk for heart disease among adolescents and cholesterol problems.

    Where are all these added sugars coming from?  The report said 59% of added-sugar calories come from foods and 41% from beverages, but soft drinks are still the single biggest source of added sugar. What's more, the report found most added sugar calories were consumed at home, not at schools which are often the target of nutritional legislation.

    What can be done to reduce sugar intake?  Dr. Wendy Slusser, an associate clinical professor of medicine at the Mattel Children's Hospital at the University of California, Los Angeles, told MSNBC that the new report is an opportunity for families to choose healthier options for their kids at home.

    "Parents think they're doing what they're supposed to when they give their kids sports drinks on a hot day," she said. "If you substitute water for sugary drinks, that's a huge step in the right direction."  She also said sugar intake could be lowered in the home by switching to a healthier cereal brand. A report by the Environmental Working Group pegged the 10 worst cereals in terms of sugar content, HealthPop reported. The group found Kellogg's Honey Smacks contained the most, with nearly 56 percent of the cereal being made of sugar.

    People should "Try to limit processed foods, because that is mostly where it comes from." He said these processed foods include granola bars, cookies, candies, jams, syrups, and even canned fruit," suggested Paul Pestano, a researcher with the EWG.   (Source:  ďCDC: Kids consume too much sugar, mostly from processed foods,Ē Ryan Jaslow reporting, CBS News, Feb. 29, 2012; CDCís National Center for Health Statistics)

  • Experts have sounded the alarm on sugar, as a source of some diseases.  There is a strong link between the consumption of added sugar and chronic disease.  Example:
    • Rise in fatty-liver disease
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Metabolic disorders  (A metabolic disorder is when abnormal chemical reactions in your body disrupt this process. When this happens, you might have too much of some substances, or too little of other ones, that you need to stay healthy.
Added sugars are sugars that donít occur naturally in the foods.  (source:  "Experts have sounded the alarm on sugar," by Barbara Sadick, Chicago Tribune, January 06, 2015, Live Well, http://www.SugarScience.org)
Statistics
  • We see that 2/3 of children drink soda on a daily basis.  We recommend that children only drink it once a week, or less.  (Rachel Johnson, professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, 2017)

  • More than one-third of American children and adolescents are obese.  (CDC, 2012)