Doreen Wennberg

Did You Know: Love for Sugar can be Detrimental to Your Health?
Thursday, August 31, 2023 by Doreen Wennberg

What do you think of when you hear birthday, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day? Do you envision sweet treats—cookies, cakes, whipped cream and chocolate?

We may give little thought to the sugar content in our treats and the damage that too much sugar can do to our bodies. If we did think about it, we may shrug it off with the thought of, I’ll just work it off.

Let’s take a closer look at sugar consumption and how it is harmful to the body.

How much sugar should we consume in a day? According to the *American Heart Association, men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day. For women, no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day; and kids should consume no more than 3 teaspoons (12 grams) of sugar per day.

The problem is the average person consumes way more than that! *Statistics show that the average man consumes 19 teaspoons of sugar while a woman consumes 15 teaspoons of sugar a day. *Kids 2 - 19 years old average 16 teaspoons a day. 

The Connection between Sugar and Health

While the sweet taste of sugar doesn’t last for long, the effects of it on the scale do. *Sugar is the leading cause of obesity in adults and children.

Many factors contribute to weight gain and obesity. Genetics are a factor, but also a lack of exercise and too many high-calorie unhealthy foods, and *sugary drinks. Sugary drinks, namely soda, fruit juices, sweetened teas, and coffee, contribute to obesity. These beverages offer no nutrition and empty calories— yet one *can of soda adds 39 grams of sugar (10 teaspoons)!

Added Sugars and Natural Sugars

Added sugars are any sweetener we add to foods or beverages during processing and cooking. 

Natural sugars are in whole unprocessed foods such as fruits. An apple has natural sugar and fiber and will not give you a sugar high (blood sugar spike) since it has fiber—the body digests it slower.

*The added sugars consumed in unhealthy foods like baked goods and sugary drinks contribute to several diseases and health conditions— such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, heart disease, increased blood pressure, and even cancer.

Importance of moderating sugar intake for better health

The diseases and health conditions mentioned above are concerning enough to warrant a better watch on our sugar intake. Reducing added sugars can aid in weight loss and improve your overall health. But how do we do it?

How to reduce your sugar intake and succeed

Cold turkey may work for some people, but it often backfires. The best way to modify eating habits is a little at a time. Once upon a time, I put 4 to 5 teaspoons of sugar and sweet cream in my coffee. Now, I add one teaspoon of sugar and sometimes skip it. I still use my creamer but rarely add sugar to other foods. It takes time to adjust.

Sugary beverages are the highest percentage of added sugars.

  • Water hydrates the body, but sugary drinks do not.
  • If you are a soda drinker, decide not to buy it and switch to water with lemon.
  • For a sweet tea drinker, switch to half unsweet, half sweet.
  • Skip the fruit juice, Kool-Aid and lemonade.
  • Do not use *artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame (Equal®), Saccharin (Sweet n’ Low®), or Sucralose (Splenda®)—they are worse!

Food Swaps and snack options

  • Instead of Ice cream, make homemade Smoothies. 1 frozen banana, 1/2C ea. blueberries, strawberries, 1 cup milk of choice, blend, enjoy!  
  • Use dates or bananas in baking instead of sugar.
  • Cereals are a big sugar culprit. Try making a mix from plain, shredded wheat, plain bran flakes, and plain oatmeal, and add in fruit (berries, bananas) and nuts—so good, way less sugar.
  • Swap store-bought salad dressings for homemade.
  • Swap store-bought granola, & trail mix for homemade.
  • Pair a Tbsp of Peanut butter with Apple slices for a wholesome snack.
  • Buy Unsweetened everything: applesauce, almond milk, oatmeal, and packaged fruits. Look for no added sugar on the label.

Read Labels. Beware of hidden sugar in almost every processed food under funny sounding names. They usually end in “ose”—dextrose, fructose, maltose.

Kick the box, and cook from scratch. The more you cook from scratch and use less processed, the more control you have over the sugar, salt, and anything else you want to avoid in your food.

Life is still sweet without sugar when we opt for healthier choices. Here’s to better health!


Disclaimer: Please note the information provided in this post is for educational purposes. It is not meant to replace the advice of your doctor. Consult your doctor about health concerns before making any dietary changes.


  1. Sugar ConsumptionLimiting Sugar
  1. Obesity and Sugar
  1. Blood Pressure, Fatty Liver, Inflammation
  1. Sugary drinks
  1. Sugar in Coke
  1. Sugar and Cancer
  1. Artificial sweeteners
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