Tipping the Sugar Scales
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the average American consumes anywhere between 150 to 170 pounds of simple sugars, also known as refined sugars (this includes glucose, fructose, and sucrose) or simple carbohydrates, in one year!
You may be thinking, “I do not consume that much.” Well, it is also said that for every American who eats only 5 pounds of sugar each year, there is one who eats about 295 pounds per year. That is A LOT of sugar – especially when you compare to it how much we used to consume in the past. Less than 100 years ago, the average intake of sugar was only about 4 pounds per person per year.
Can’t get a grasp on how much sugar 150 to 170 pounds is? Here is a visual: imagine 30 to 34 five-pound bags of sugar lined up next to each other on a counter. Now imagine one person, perhaps yourself, eating all of that sugar. To break it down even more, eating 150-170 pounds of sugar in one year is also equivalent to consuming 1/4 to 1/2 pounds of sugar each day. Don’t think consuming this amount of sugar is easy to achieve? Think again… here are some more numbers:
Sugar, Soda, and Math
There are 120 teaspoons in one pound of sugar. This means 1/4 pound of sugar is equivalent to 30 teaspoons and 1/2 pound of sugar is equivalent to 60 teaspoons. An average 12-ounce can of soda contains about 8 ounces of simple sugar. This means that just four 12-ounce cans of sodas will equal 1/4 pound of sugar! For some people, drinking this amount of soda in one day is not a difficult task to accomplish.
This is calculating only the amount of sugar found in soda. Just think about the other sources of sugar in our diet. Americans consume refined sugars in numerous forms – there are the obvious sugary culprits – doughnuts, cookies, cake, and ice cream. However, sugar is hidden in so much of what we consume each day. Sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup can also be found in salad dressings, breads, hot dogs, peanut butter, pickles, canned-fruits and vegetables, ketchup, canned soups, crackers, cookies, and several other food products.
It’s Not Only a Drug, It’s a Poison Too
Some classify refined sugar as a drug or poison because it is depleted of its life forces, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Too much of it can be harmful to the body and can cause disease. We have all heard the dangers of consuming too much sugar in our diets – it can lead to organ malfunction and hormone disruption. When these systems are disturbed and unbalanced, several other pathological conditions manifest: allergies, obesity, degenerative/organ disease, diabetes, depression, behavioral problems, etc.
If You are Sick Several Times Throughout the Year, You May Want to Look at Your Sugar Consumption
How does eating sugar relate to being ill? Excess sugar consumption depresses your body’s immunity. Studies have shown that consuming 75 to 100 grams of simple sugars (about 20 teaspoons of sugar – the amount found in two-and-a-half average 12 ounce cans of soda) can suppress the body’s immune responses considerably. These sugars are known to create a 40 to 50% percent drop in the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria and germs within the body. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. By consuming 150 to 170 pounds of simple sugars each year, a person may have up to 80,000 hours of immune suppression!
With the average American consuming 150-170 pounds of sugar annually, I am not surprised to hear that around 60% of the US population is currently overweight or obese. There are obviously other factors that play a role in this statistic, but I am pretty sure our consumption of sugar has a lot to do with it. I don’t know about you, but to me, it makes sugar sound “not so sweet” after all…