The Deadly Consequences of America’s Addiction to Sugar
Today, most Americans consume 22 teaspoons (355 calories) of added sugar per day – a far cry from the American Heart Association’s recommendations of six teaspoons (100 calories) for women and nine teaspoons (150 calories) for men. In 2010, that added up to 130 pounds of cane sugar – a dramatic increase from the 78 pounds consumed in 1960.
The consequences of America’s obsession with sugar have been dire. Since sugary foods are high in calories and low on nutrition and ingredients that keep people feeling full, they contribute to the nation’s growing problems of overweight and obesity. Obesity, in turn, can increase the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other health problems.
A sugar-laden diet takes a toll not only on America’s physical health, but also its mental health. Sugar can provide a quick energy boost but over time blood sugar plummets, causing irritability, fatigue, poor concentration and other mood problems. A growing body of evidence suggests that sugar also may be addictive.
“Since the 1960s, sugar has found its way into just about every processed food we eat, but many Americans don’t realize the extent of the problem,” said David Sack, MD, CEO of Elements Behavioral Health. “With this infographic, we’re drawing attention to how much sugar we are consuming and how it could be affecting our health in some very serious ways. Sugar affects the same areas of the brain as drugs like cocaine and heroin, and can be an extremely difficult habit to break.”