Life Lessons: Scoop on sugar
Christmas cookies, gingerbread, holiday pudding-you try hard, but you just can't escape it: sugar seems to be in everything we consume. But how much do you know about this sneaky substance?
The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, but are natural substitutes like honey and agave healthier?
"It still has the same effect on your body," says registered dietician Amy Jamieson-Petonic, who works with the Cleveland Clinic.
All added sugars increase inflammation in your blood vessels and up the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
What do you think: does most of the sugar we eat come from sweet foods?
Nope, soda is the biggest culprit.
One-third of all added sugars come from sweetened drinks.
Other hidden sugars are found in condiments like barbeque sauce, ketchup, and salad dressings.
So do you think sugar can make you look old?
Yes, sugar actually changes the structure of collagen in your skin.
Here's another one: does sugar increase your risk of cancer?
Swedish researchers found those who ate a sugar-heavy diet were 70 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
But, are artificial sweeteners a good alternative?
Yes and no. While they can help reduce your sugar intake, some studies have shown these substitutes may actually cause you to crave more sugar.
"You really want to get used to having things less sweet. I'd say no more than about a teaspoon or two a day," Jamieson-Petonic said.
Here's a way to reduce your craving for sugar:
Take 200 micrograms of chromium once a day at the start of any meal.
Chromium plays an important role in insulin's regulation of blood sugar and energy production. This simple measure could prevent sugar surges that often leave you craving more later on.
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