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By the Numbers

It is believed that from birth, a child’s tastebuds are underdeveloped to a point that the only thing for sure that can be distinguished is the sweetness of foods. Wired to sensory to provide feelings of euphoria and comfort, children often grow into adults with undiagnosed addictions to all things sweet. The Washington Informer wants its readers to be aware and beware of how sugar impacts both the mind and body. The first lesson requires our audiences to become acquainted with sugar… by the numbers.

Research in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that manufacturers add sugar to 74 percent of packaged foods sold in supermarkets. So, even if you skip dessert, you may still be consuming more added sugar than is recommended.

There are at least 61 different names for sugar listed on food labels. These include common names, such as sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup, as well as barley malt, dextrose, maltose and rice syrup, among others.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 9 teaspoons (38 grams) of added sugar per day for men, and 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women. The AHA limits for children vary depending on their age and caloric needs, but range between 3-6 teaspoons (12 – 25 grams) per day.

With as many as 11 teaspoons (46.2 grams) of added sugar in some 12-oz. sodas, a single serving exceeds the AHA recommendation for men and is about twice the allowance for women and children.

Americans consume 57 pounds of added sugar each year, on average.

Liquid sugar (sugar in beverages like soda and sports drinks) is the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet (36 percent).

When we eat an apple, we may take in as many as 18 grams of sugar, but because the sugar is “packaged” with about one-fifth of our daily requirement of fiber, it takes our bodies a long time to digest that fiber, which means the apple’s sugar is slowly released into our bloodstream, giving us a sustained source of energy.

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