How Added Sugars are Killing You
There have been a number of recent class action lawsuits against food manufacturers for their marketing on ‘healthy foods’ in particular—added sugars.
Coca-cola, Kellogg, Post, General Mills, Pepsi-Co, and even Jelly Belly are defendants in lawsuits claiming they failed to disclose added sugars or they used deceptive marketing in their ads to lure consumers to consume what seemed to be ‘healthy’ food options.
We can hear the collective groans now.
Who doesn’t KNOW that jelly beans, cereal or fruit juices have SUGAR in them?
Well, that’s where the misconception begins.
Naturally occurring sugar is different than added sugars. Added sugars can actually be deadly. Yes, it increases your risk of dying from heart disease, even if you aren’t overweight. It’s also linked to a bunch of other deadly diseases.
Whoa…Ish just got real, huh?
Well, we certainly aren’t going to sugar-coat it. Let’s get to it.
What are Added Sugars?
Added sugars are syrups and sugars added to foods and beverages while processed. They are not naturally occurring like sugars in fruit.
The major food and beverage sources of added sugars for Americans are:
- cobblers and pies
- sweet rolls, pastries, and donuts
- fruit drinks
- dairy desserts
- regular soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks
Sugar is Linked to Seventy-Five Percent of All Diseases
Sugar is so damaging, approximately 30 percent to 40 percent of health care expenses in the United States address issues linked to excess sugar consumption.
What’s worse is that less than ten years ago, we really didn’t know HOW damaging sugar was until Dr. Gupta gave a lecture entitled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” which proved sugar was a major factor in cancer, type II diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. He even supported that 75 percent of all diseases in America are brought on by our lifestyle and are preventable. PREVENTABLE.
Don’t take his word for it? Well, there are many, many more studies linking sugar to increased disease and death.
Here are just a few studies and their findings:
- Sugar Linked to Heart Disease
- Fructose Causes Obesity and Diabetes
- Fructose Increases Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in all Ages
- Fructose Increases the Risk of Heart Disease
- Sugar Linked to High Blood Pressure
- High Fructose Corn Syrup Intake Linked with Mineral Imbalance and Osteoporosis
- Diet of Sugar and Fructose Impairs Brain Function
- Sugar Expedites Aging
- Sugar Increases Cancer Cells
- Sugar Suppresses Immune System
- Sugar Harms the Heart
Digging deeper, in a 15-year study—FIFTEEN YEARS, subjects who consumed 25 percent or more of the daily calories as sugar were twice as likely to die from heart disease than those who kept sugar intake at 10 percent or lower. This was regardless of the person’s age, sex, exercise level and BMI. Meaning—you can’t protect yourself against heart disease without reducing sugar intake. PERIOD.
If you don’t think you consume a lot of sugar, you may be one of the people who claim they’ve been bamboozled by the food industry. In the Jelly Belly case, the ‘jelly beans’ were marketed as ‘athletic sports beans for energy’. Advertised as “Energizing beans” that provide “quick energy for sports performance”. The packaging is athletically tailored, a big ol’ NON-GMO stamp is on it. Yet, they are still sugary jelly beans. But, they labeled the added sugar as evaporated cane juice.
Of course sugar gives you quick energy. But most people seeking fitness don’t toss back a fistful of donut holes and chase it with a cream -laden macchiato for ‘energy’.
While you may know the evaporated cane juice is sugar, the lawsuit argues that the Average Joe doesn’t and the marketing is misleading and deceptive. If the added sugar isn’t clearly called out on the label—how can you truly know AND control what you’re putting in your body?
Harvard says, “The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which amounts to an extra 350 calories.” Adding that sugary beverages and breakfast cereals are two of the most serious offenders.
It’s easy to pour a bowl of cereal, not realizing you are consuming 2-3 servings of what’s on the label. It’s really easy to pour that bowl of cereal marked as ‘healthy’ and not give a second thought to what you’re doing to your heart or risk for premature death. It’s easy.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Premature Death
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends we radically cut back on added sugar to help slow the obesity and heart disease epidemics by doing the following:
- Women: Reduce added-sugar limit of no more than 100 calories per day which is around six teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar
- Men: Reduce added sugar to 150 calories per day, which is around nine teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar.
- If the ingredient list has sugar as the first or second item—skip it.
- Do Math: 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon.
- Get to know the other names sugars go by which include:
- anhydrous dextrose
- brown sugar
- cane juice (evaporated or not)
- confectioner’s powdered sugar
- corn syrup
- corn syrup solids
- crystal dextrose
- evaporated corn sweetener
- fruit nectar
- high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- invert sugar
- liquid fructose
- malt syrup
- maple syrup
- nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar)
- pancake syrup
- raw sugar
- sugar cane juice
- white granulated sugar
Did YOU know all of those names are synonyms for added sugars? Do you know some of those names used, the FDA doesn’t even recognize as an ingredient? Makes you wonder why a company would choose that name over something like good ol’ SUGAR?
Well, the FDA finally stepped in to arm you with information to help in protecting your health and making informed decisions.
Labeling Requirements for Added Sugars Will Help you Help Your Heart and Health
In 2016 the FDA made changes to the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods requiring full disclosure and for it to reflect the link between diet and chronic diseases such as heart disease and obesity. It will be easier for you to make informed choices.
The new labels will look like this:
As you can see—prior to this change, you wouldn’t know that TEN GRAMS in of the twelve grams of sugar was ADDED SUGARS! That’s 83 PERCENT of the total sugars!
The required compliance date is by July 26, 2018. However, according to the FDA, “Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply.”
So, in the meantime, hopefully this information helps you detect the hidden added sugars in the label and your diet.
Is this changing your mind about the lawsuits? Marketed as healthy food choices, concealing sources of sugar, using ‘creative names’ for sugar instead of being transparent….Are you mad yet?
Couple that with the scientific evidence that sugar kills, and you might start asking yourself if some of these companies out there are looking for long-term customers or if they’re trying to kill us off? Just kidding…or are we?
Reduce Added Sugars Intake and Increase Longevity
Hopefully, if you started reading this with a closed mind, we have opened it. Sugar is delivering sweet deaths.
Science says the lawsuits have merit—and if they got your attention, give it a little more. Start looking at labels, start tracking your intake. You just might save your own life in doing so.
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*Statements contained herein are not endorsed or approved by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. If you are concerned about your health–speak with your doctor first.