The Bittersweet Truth About How Sugar Hurts Your Health

Addicted to sugar?

You aren’t alone. North Americans crave it. Whether in the form of candy bars, pop, cookies, cereals and syrups or hidden in processed foods such as pasta sauces and salad dressings, many of us are tempted by the sweet allure of sugar.

Not all sugar is bad. In fact, your body needs it to survive—the brain uses more energy than any other organ and glucose is its main source of fuel.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 36 grams (or 150 calories) of sugar per day for men and 25 grams (or 100 calories) for women, but American adults are actually consuming 77 grams of the white stuff every day, more than three times the recommended amount for women. This adds up to about 60 added pounds of sugar a year.

All that sugar is having a devastating toll on our health. Here’s the downside of too much sweet stuff:

Kicking the sugar habit

If you’re having trouble cutting back on sugar, don’t despair. Research shows sweets can be as addictive as cocaine.

Try these 4 tips:

1. Read food labels to monitor your intake of added sugar. Choose items that have 5g or less sugar per 100 g.

2. Reduce the sugar you add to your beverages, including coffee and tea.

3. Opt for fresh fruit when you have a craving for something sweet.

4. Cut back the sugar called for in recipes by one-third to one-half.

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