Cwynar Article Archives

May 2013 | Newsletter archives

The Sugar Problem
By Eva Cwynar

The single largest source of calories for Americans comes from sugar— and often from high fructose corn syrup. However, it wasn’t always so.

• In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
• In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
• By 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
• In 2009, more than 50 percent of all Americans were consuming half a pound of sugar per day. That’s 180 pounds per year.

Sugar is one of the primary ingredients in soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, and hidden in almost all processed foods—from bologna to pretzels to Worcestershire sauce to cheese spread. Even many infant formulas have the sugar equivalent of one can of Coca-Cola, so babies are being metabolically poisoned from day one if taking formula.

No wonder there is an obesity epidemic in this country.

Today, 32 percent of Americans are obese and an additional one-third are overweight. Compare that to 1890, when a survey of white males in their fifties revealed an obesity rate of just 3.4 percent. In 1975, the obesity rate in America had reached 15 percent, and since then it has doubled.

Carrying excess weight increases your risk for conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.

In 1893, there were fewer than three cases of diabetes per 100,000 people in the United States. Today, diabetes strikes almost 8,000 out of every 100,000 people.

You don't have to be a physician or a scientist to notice America's expanding waistline. All you have to do is stroll through a shopping mall or a schoolyard, or perhaps glance in the mirror.

What to do?

For starters, you can cut down on things like pre-sweetened breakfast cereals, eat more fruit and drink unsweetened fruit juices to quench any sugar cravings. Read labels more consciously and look for where sugar falls in the ingredient list.

Also try sugar substitutes like Xylitol. Also known as birch sugar, this naturally-occurring sweet compound is found in fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t have any of the bad associated with sugar and also boasts a range of health benefits. Because Xylitol is completely natural, it is devoid of the undesirable side effects seen with other artificial sweeteners. It doesn’t feed yeast and has a sweet, clean, cool taste. It also won’t sabotage your mood and energy levels like sugar can.

The benefits of Xylitol include:

• Decreasing the incidence of dental issues
• Fighting plaque buildup and neutralizing plaque acids
• Reducing rates of ear infections in children
• Helping promote bone health

When you eat Xylitol instead of sugar, part of it is gradually metabolized into glucose in the liver so it won’t cause blood sugar extremes. It passes on to the large intestine where it is converted into short chain fatty acids that nourish the wall of the large intestine. It also shows promise for diabetics in that it scores a 7 out of 100 on the glycemic index which mean it has a minimal impact on blood sugar and insulin levels.

For more information, visit the Xylitol page on our web site.