If you ever struggle with soda, cookie or candy cravings, or if you finish off large helpings of baked treats on a regular basis, you may be one of the many sugar addicts in the United States. Luckily, it seems our willpower has gotten a bit better in recent years.
Americans finally lowered their sugar consumption over the past decade, according to an article by the Los Angeles Times published on July 30, 2011.
A new study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated people living in the United States ate about 25 teaspoons (375 calories) of sugar per day in 2000. But in 2008, consumption decreased to about 19 teaspoons (285 calories).
The researchers did not count natural sugars (such as fructose in fruits) in the study. Instead, they focused on only added sugars like white sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, etc.
One of the main reasons for the drop in sugar intake includes more Americans avoiding sodas and other sugary drinks. However, consumption of energy drinks increased, along with a 20 percent increase in the intake of low-calorie beverages.
In the past, the United States suffered from a serious addiction to added sugar. According to the LA Times article, “Between 1977 and 1996, Americans increased the number of calories they got from added sugars from about 235 to 320 a day, a change linked to the nation’s expanding waistline and to an increase in the rates of heart disease and diabetes.”
Although things are looking up for America and its sweet tooth, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines indicate we still take in too much added sugar.
Many people don’t realize the danger of eating foods high in sugar. According to mental health expert Dr. Charles Raison, sugary foods “are especially likely to stimulate our brain in ways that can become addictive.”