Addicted to Sugar

Humans have been sweet on candies for a very long time. Before sugar was honey, the available natural sweetener, provided that you weren’t scared of bees. As far back as 8000 BC, New Guinea and Southeast Asian started extracting juice from the sugar cane plant and often chewing it for its sweet taste (kind of like early chewing gum). With the discovery of granulation a few thousand years later, it was easily transported and slowly introduced to Persia, India and ultimately the Mediterranean countries across the trade routes. Around 510 BC the Persian Emperor Darius invaded India where he discovered “the reed which gives honey without bees.”

Spoon, Fork, Cutlery, Icing Sugar
During medieval times, sugar was quite expensive and regarded as a fine spice, along with salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and pepper. Although sweetening still relied mainly on honey and fruits (like dates) it made its way to the West Indies, because of Christopher Columbus, a sweet man, because he carried sugar on his next voyage there, specifically to Hispaniola, what is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Ironically, ancient Greeks and Romans considered it medicinal. (Oh boy, wouldn’t that be great.)
As recent as two hundred years ago, when sugar was a premium commodity, the average American consumed only about 5 pounds annually. These days, the typical American consumes a staggering 150 to 170 pounds of sugar in one year, which plays out to 1/4 to 1/2 pound daily (picture 30 to 35 five-pound bags). Yikes. You’re thinking, no way, not me. Well, even if you don’t drink soft drinks or sweetened drinks, additional sugar is lurking in so many foods where you might not realize. Sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup can be seen in everyday basics which we use liberally with no thought: ketchup, hot dogs, processed foods, canned goods, Palm Bay Opossum Removal, peanut butter, salad dressings, the list is endless.
The American Heart Association recommends additional sugars shouldn’t exceed 150 calories per day (37.5 g or 9 tsp) for men; 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 tsp) for women. Heck, one soft drink or candy bar blows that out of the water. Let’s take a look:
Juice boxes for kids, even though it says 100% juice, may contain 15 to 22 grams of sugar for a 6 to 8 ounce serving. They may also be drinking soda pop
Lunchables, often found in children’s lunch boxes, 14 grams sugar
Honey Smacks boxed cereal is 60% flat-out sugar (20 gram)
How about those drinks you believe are healthier: many popular fruit smoothies contain over 40 gram in the small size
Your favorite blended drinks at Starbucks:
Tall Caramel Frappuccino (12 oz) 46 g
Horchata Almond milk Frappuccino (16 oz) 66 g
Typical 12-ounce can of soda contains about 8 tsp of sugar. It only takes four 12-ounce cans of pop to equivalent 1/4 pound! For some people, drinking this amount of pop in one day is not a challenging task to accomplish. For many, it is a daily habit; other popular soft drinks average 13 gram to 16 g.
Among the most popular biscuits in your grocers’ shelf:
Chips Ahoy, just 3 cookies delivers 33 g;
Twinkies (2 cakes) 33 g;
So let’s move on to what might not be obvious:
Sports drink (32 g)
Canned veggies 10 g per serving
Glazed doughnut 12 gram
One scoop of premium ice cream, around 19 g (add 2 T chocolate syrup another 19 g)
Two Tablespoons of Honey Mustard Dressing has 5 grams of sugar; the same serving of fat-free French contains 7 g, (and few people use just 2 Tablespoons)
Typical granola snack bar 24 gram
(writer’s note: Lots of low or fat-free products contain extra sugar, and keep in mind that drinking orange juice or apple juice remains sugar)
So just for fun, let’s add up a typical American daily food intake (average portions) 4 g of sugar equals 1 teaspoon:
Breakfast: orange juice, cereal, coffee (20 g, 12 g) smoothie or two donuts on the run (40 g or 24 g)
Lunch: away into the fast food joint where you catch a cheeseburger, fries, lots of ketchup and a chocolate shake (9 g, 14 g, 74 g)
Afternoon: mixed coffee pick me up (46 g) or raiding the office vending machine for a candy bar, soft drink (30 g, 39 g)
Dinner: frozen entree, salad with dressing, 4 cookies, iced tea with sugar (16 g, 20 g, 44 g, 4 g)
Late night snack: peanut butter with crackers (14 g + 2 g), cola (39 g)
Total: 337 g that translates to a whopping 84 teaspoons of sugar to the day (and that is conservative). Yikes. (Plus you need a degree in chemistry just to pronounce the names.) Have a sweet day.

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