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Mary Poppins was an Enabler


By Scott LaFee   |   October 27, 2017

Oh sure, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but these days we spoon so many spoonfuls of sugar minus the medicine down our gullets that millions of Americans require medicine to deal with their excessive sugar consumption. 

This is National Diabetes Month, and we mean that quite literally. One in 10 Americans has diabetes. That’s more than 30 million people. Another 84 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2050, some studies suggest more than one-quarter of Americans will be diabetic.

Spoon of sugar

Excessive sugar consumption heightens risk, primarily due to associated obesity and poor diet. Refined sugar is linked to a host of ailments, including depression, hypertension, headaches, nervous tension, skin irritation, high blood pressure, fatigue and stiffening of arteries.

Let’s gorge on some numbers:

  1. Back in 1822 we consumed on average 45 grams every five days. Or the rough equivalent of one can of soda.
  2. Today, Americans consume, on average, 765 grams of sugar every five days or the equivalent of 17 cans of soda.
  3. In a year, Americans consume 130 pounds of sugar compared to under 10 pounds for our mostly sugar-free 1822 predecessors. One hundred and thirty pounds of sugar a year works out to approximately three pounds a week. Over an average lifetime, it totals 3,550 pounds or 12.5 commercially grown pigs ready for market.
  4. One hundred and thirty pounds of sugar also equals 1,767,900 Skittles, enough to fill an industrial trash dumpster.
  5. The American Heart Association recommends adults consume less than 10 teaspoons of sugar per day. The average adult American consumes 22. And average child is worse: 32 teaspoons.
  6. A lot of this sugar is eaten in plain sight. There’s no denying a sugar cookie contains sugar. But so too do potato chips, ketchup, TV dinners, soup and crackers. In fact, pretty much every processed food is infused with copious amounts of sugar.
  7. Three packets of ketchup for your fast food fries contains three tablespoons of sugar, more than in a Krispy Kreme doughnut.
  8. Soda and sugary drinks are the biggest culprits, accounting for 33 percent of average sugar consumption. The average American consumes 53 gallons of soda a year.
  9. A single 12-ounce can of soda contains more sugar than two frosted Pop Tarts and a Twinkie combined.
  10. Refined sugar has no nutritional value: Zero vitamins, minerals, enzymes or fiber.

If you eliminated all added sugar consumption from your diet, you would also eliminate 500 calories or the equivalent of consuming 10 strips of bacon. Of course, eating too much bacon is an entirely different problem.

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