Two articles in the past week highlighted the detrimental effects of sugar on our health. The Wall Street Journal on September 29, 2020 reports on a federal committee’s recommendation to reduce added sugar consumption to no more than 6% of a daily caloric intake, down from the current 10% recommendation. Main sources of added sugars are sweetened drinks, desserts, candy, coffee, tea, breakfast cereals/bars and yogurts. This recommendation is getting push back from the likes of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo as well as the National Confectioners Association who all want Americans to continue their sugar bingeing. We all know that sugar contributes to not only obesity but also heart disease, diabetes and cancer. According to the CDC, more than 70% of American adults are overweight.
An obvious response to reducing caloric intake from added sugars is to replace them with calorie-free artificial sweeteners. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune on September 30, 2020 artificial sweeteners will prevent excessive weight gain. The big unknown, however, is the detrimental side effects of consuming these sweeteners. Currently, studies have shown that artificial sweeteners negatively shift the gut microbiota, disrupt blood sugar control/influence insulin levels, among other potential health issues. Another concern that I see with my clients who consume artificial sweeteners is that it overstimulates a desire for intensely sweet foods, so an apple, for example, no longer tastes sweet. The good news is that you can rehabilitate your taste buds by eliminating the artificial sweeteners and reducing overall sugar intake. Enjoy food as it was meant to be!