When it comes to refined sugar, the average American is said to consume about three pounds of sugar each week, or 3,550 pounds throughout their entire life. That’s extreme. Sugar consumption has been linked to everything from diabetes to cancer and even Alzheimer’s disease. But certainly there is a “safe” amount of sugar—an amount that we can eat without all of the negative side-effects, right? Wrong.
If you listen to the National Research Council, you shouldn’t get any more than 25% of your daily calories from foods with added sugar. That’s about the equivalent of 3 cans of soda each day. Unfortunately a recent study from the University of Utah suggests even this amount could be toxic and even deadly. This is something experts in the natural health field already know.
The researchers found that when mice ate a diet of 25% added sugar, in addition to an otherwise normal and healthy lifestyle, the females died at twice the normal rate and the males were less likely to hold territory and successfully reproduce. In other words, even the “safe” levels of sugar consumption weren’t safe.
“Our results provide evidence that added sugar consumed at concentrations currently considered safe exerts dramatic adverse impacts on mammalian health,” said the researchers in the journal Nature Communications.
While you might think this doesn’t apply to you, that you don’t eat a whole lot of sugar and you don’t exhibit signs and symptoms—like elevated blood sugar or increased weight—associated with too much sugar, it’s important to note that the mice didn’t exhibit symptoms either. As a matter of fact, they didn’t become obese and showed few if any metabolic symptoms. Still, “they died more often and tended to have fewer babies.”
Call it what you want: sucrose, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, or fructose—it is all harmful or questionable at best. Avoiding these sugars and the health consequences that go along with them takes some level of self-control, but once you’ve managed to kick the habit of processed carbs and sweetened beverages and foods, you would be surprised at the lack of cravings. To put it simply: sugar is addictive but once you’ve “come off” of sugar you can easily manage your intake.
Refined sugars are devoid of nutrients. White breads, processed carbohydrates, soft drinks, and baked goods are missing the very things your body needs to survive. And as this latest study shows, there may be no “safe” amount at all.