It is no secret that consuming too much sugar can be highly detrimental to one’s physical health and wellbeing. Some of the most obvious impacts that the overconsumption of sugar can cause include obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. However, more serious complications like heart disease, kidney damage, fatty liver disease, and high blood pressure can occur as well. For many who strive to maintain a healthy, balanced diet, whether for cosmetic or physical health reasons, the overconsumption of sugar is an obvious concern. However, based on a new study out of the University of North Carolina, even the healthiest eaters might not be aware of the many ways in which added sugars are incorporated into nearly all of their foods.
The study that the University of North Carolina conducted included taking a survey of the packaged foods and drinks that are for sale within grocery stores in the United States. Their findings deduced that 60% of these foods and drinks included added sugar. Some foods and drinks obviously contained added sugar, such as soft drinks and cookies. However others, including yogurt and bread, were not as obvious. What those who participated in this research realized was that there are many words used throughout nutritional labels that mean “added sugar,” though the words used on labels do not seem like they would (i.e. maltose, agave nectar, and nulomoline). The study itself found that many manufacturers of these products are not intentionally looking to “hide” the presence of added sugar, but are simply utilizing the ingredients that are cheapest, provide the best texture and flavor for their product, and are easiest to access. Despite what seemingly appears to be an honest approach, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working towards making everything crystal clear for customers in the future.
The FDA Looks to Alter the Future of Food Packaging
In May of 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a new template for nutritional labels. While there were other changes, one of the most notable was that a new line would be included on all food and drink labels for “added sugar”, which would reside right below the line for total sugar. This is being done in an effort to help clarify exactly what consumers are ingesting, rather than misleading them through the use of words that mean “added sugar” that are not commonly known. The new label developed by the FDA is set to hit food and drink packaging in 2018 for large companies, and in 2019 for smaller companies.
What Health Risks Do the Public Face in the Meantime?
Since everyone goes to the grocery store, there is, without a doubt, the possibility for people of all ages, races, and diets to fall victim to an increased amount of added sugars within their food without even being aware of it. Even in stores that promote all organic foods, added sugars are still present. Currently, the inability to truly know what type of sugar is being added to one’s food and in what amount poses the most risk, as it does not allow the public to be fully educated about the foods and drinks they are putting into their bodies. As a result, physical health concerns can develop.
As previously mentioned, the most common side effect of consuming too much sugar is obesity. When an individual is diagnosed with being obese, it means that he or she has an excessive amount of body fat. While one’s initial thoughts might center on how he or she appears physically to themselves and others as an obese individual, the damage that is being done/can be done is much more concerning.
According to Mayo Clinic, there are a number of factors that can play into one’s likelihood of suffering from obesity. For example, genetics can play a significant role in the development of obesity, as genes can determine how well your body converts food into energy. Additionally, someone who grapples with mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, might find that they also struggle with obesity as they consume an unhealthy diet as a means of coping with distress.
Those who are faced with economic hardships are also more likely to become obese, as they are limited in regards to what they can purchase at the grocery store. Sadly, food that is higher in sugar and lower in vitamins and minerals is often more affordable.
In sum, the presence of added sugars in more than half of the foods and drinks that one can purchase in the grocery store is an alarming issue, as there are already a handful of factors that are working against individuals in regards to developing obesity, and in turn, additional health issues that can cost them their lives.
At Structure House, we focus on helping those who are faced with weight issues overcome their problems in a manner where they can safely and effectively learn about food so that they can go on to live healthy lives. If you or someone you love is struggling with obesity, do not let fear stand in the way of receiving treatment. Call us right now.