X marks sugar spot

(Picture courtesy of Cjorsch at wikimedia commons.)

All of us will enjoy something sweet sometimes, but the use of excessive sugar has been the subject of intensive study.   You knew it, the sweets are really bad for you.

Quanhe Yang of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues studied self-reported data on three groups of people, during five- to six-year periods between 1988 and 2010. The groups represented a cross-section of Americans in terms of race, age, and education levels. Each sample contained between 8,786 and 11,733 people.

Groups excluded from the study included people already suffering from diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.

The authors used nutrition information from established government models to determine levels of added sugar. Mostly, the sugar came from sugar-sweetened beverages, grain-based desserts, dairy products, candy, and breakfast cereal.

Compared with people in the study who received only 8 percent of their total daily calories from added sugar, those who consumed 17 to 21 percent increased their risk of death by heart disease by 38 percent. The statistic doubled for those who exceeded 21 percent of their daily calories in sugar.

Admittedly, I got over a strong urge toward sweets, particularly candy, when I had the responsibility of bringing up a couple of hyperactive kids.   Knowing what it did to them ruined the taste of sugar for me.

Guess I was lucky.   I’m hoping you can get there, too.

What you can start with is fruits, natural sweets, as a substitute.   The taste of fruit is good enough for me, and I don’t add sugar to it.   The increase in healthfulness in your diet is huge.

Give your sweetie something good for Valentine’s, and try the strawberries without the chocolate dipping.

(Picture courtesy of John Hritz at wikimedia commons.)

Get Over It