The rising trend in obesity suggests that Americans are currently at their heaviest weight in history. Figures show that obesity (66% of the population) costs the American economy $75 billion per year. One out of three children and one of four teenagers are overweight or at risk. In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control reported that obesity kills more than 112,000 American citizens a year.
As of 2001, the National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) reported that the average American consumes over 600 12-ounce servings of soda per year! These figures point to a direct relationship between sugar consumption and childhood obesity, caffeine and sugar addiction, calcium loss from phosphoric acid (associated with bone loss), nutritional deficiencies, blood sugar disorders and tooth decay.
Marketing can play a large role in our children’s choices. Research has shown that the risk for obesity increases 6% for every hour of television a pre-schooler watches per day. And considering that children view on average 51 hours of food ads every year (95% of them for “junk food”), one may choose to limit television time especially during cartoon programs when the same advertisement for a sugary food is broadcast every five minutes. Though making these changes may not be easy, the changes will have a positive long-term impact.
More recently, further correlations between sugar, artificial sweeteners and a multitude of health conditions have been exposed. Examples of some of these conditions include:
- Acid reflux or GERD
- Balance issues
- Candida yeast syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
- Childhood obesity
- Colds and flu
- Cravings for more sugar and sweets!!
- Fructose malabsorption and/or disorder
- GI disorders
- Headaches — including migraines
- Heart infections
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- High cholesterol
- Insomnia and other sleep disturbances
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Kidney stones
- Low protein
- Memory loss
- Mental confusion (or “brain fog”)
- Metabolic syndrome
- Mood swings
- Neurological damage and/or neurotoxins
- Periodontitis — inflammation of the gums
- Poor digestion
- Poor mineral absorption
- Sexual dysfunction
- Skin eruptions or irritations
- Weight fluctuations
The lesson here is that while sugar can lead to obesity and a variety of other health problems, artificial sweeteners produce some of the same problems and lead to others as well.
So, cutting back on sugar and artificial sweeteners will not only help you control your weight but will also protect you from many other health problems that are all too common today.
(Adapted from pp. 8-9 of Sweetness without Sugar)