Many people know the basics of living a healthy life, even if they don’t always find it easy to follow them. People know that it’s important to exercise regularly, for example, and making healthy food choices is essential as the obesity rate in the United States climbs. The trends regarding what is deemed healthy shifts from time to time, but these days experts are pointing at sugar as the ultimate villain to avoid, regardless of what any other trends are detailing.
Cardiologist Luiza Petre, MD told PopSugar that the current crisis in the U.S. with rapidly rising obesity rates and heart disease cases is ultimately connected to the high prevalence of sugar and high fructose corn syrup in our foods that became common several decades ago. Petre details that fructose is processed by the body differently than glucose, and it is converted directly into fat as we digest it.
Medical professionals still frequently vary in their opinions when it comes to the connection between heart health and fat. However, the cardiologist maintains that sugar is a more concerning piece of the puzzle than either proteins or fats.
Popular Science acknowledges that it can be tricky to determine which dietary guidelines are legitimate and crucial to follow, especially when supposed experts cannot always agree. However, they note that cutting back on added sugars really is important and most people don’t realize how much sugar they’re consuming.
Cutting back or eliminating added sugars is one of the easiest ways to combat the damage that the villainous sugar does to one’s health. Many foods naturally have some sugar in them, but troublesome foods like energy drinks, sodas, candies, and grain-based desserts can cause a lot of damage in just a few sips or bites.
In addition to cutting back on the obvious culprits, people should learn the names of the various types of sugars, especially the sneakier ones, and start reading labels. High fructose corn syrup and cane sugar are familiar to most people already, but Prevention points out that seeing sucrose, evaporated cane juice, dextrose, maltose, and ingredients like diastase on labels equate to types of sugar you need to be cautious of as well.
All in all, there are dozens of words used on labels to reference sugar of one type or another. The American Heart Association suggests that women limit their added sugar to about 25 grams a day, and these days, even many toddlers are topping that amount. Cutting back or eliminating added sugars can be a complex process, but awareness of its dangers is a key first step and it looks like most medical professionals can agree on its importance.