The Risks of Sugar Consumption | Dangers & Potential Health Problems

The Risks of Sugar Consumption - Dangers & Potential Health Problems

It's Time We Talk, Sugar

Sugar. Mmm sweet, syrupy goodness. Ice cream, brownies, cakes, doughnuts, chocolate, caramel apples (loaded with more nuts, chocolate and candy pieces than it can handle), root beer floats, s’ mores…OK, OK, you get the picture. But, sugar…it’s pure white gold in my eyes. Obviously, the sweet treats I listed above contain copious amounts of sugar, but what about that beverage you’re holding in your hand right now? Yeah, you. I caught you.

Can’t go a day without your soda fix? If you find yourself returning to the soda machines daily then you could be drinking the equivalent of the amount of sugar in ice cream sundaes (notice the plural on that). If you’re trying to stay fit in college, keep your New Year’s resolution, or just be healthy, drinking your calories is the quickest way to derail your efforts. You can think of these drinks as sugar bottles that exist only to get you hooked on their syrupy goodness while robbing you of your health! The dangers of sugar are real and should never be underestimated!

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It might be the taste, the caffeine, or simply just the habit that has you reaching for that liquid sugar every day. Or, maybe it’s the nostalgia. Maybe you used to drink a lot of soda growing up and drinking it now brings you back to those times. Well, alert the media because you are NOT 13 anymore and can no longer unashamedly pound 2-liter bottles of orange soda in one sitting (we’ll discuss the bags of Doritos later).
But don’t think your “healthy” fruit juice is safe either. The dangers of sugar consumption are lurking behind even the most clever advertisements and marketing ploys. Even if the advertisements tell you, there is no such thing as a healthy energy drink.  The energy drink industry, as well as the soft-drink industry, is booming and your waistline just might be too! The beverage market is inundated with juice, energy drink concoctions and soda pop that will make the button on your jeans pop if you’re not careful! Forget sodas, you’ll be surprised at just how much sugar is in other beverages you think couldn’t be that bad. It seems like every day there new energy drinks are made and people just can’t get enough of it! Sugar overload!

Let’s take a look at the amount of sugar in soda, juice and energy drinks:


Mountain Dew = 46 g. per can
Dr. Pepper = 40 g. per can
Coca~Cola = 39 g. per can

Energy Drinks:

Rockstar Punched = 93 g. per 24 fl. oz. can
Monster Heavy Metal = 88 g. per 24 fl. oz. can
Red Bull = 27 g. per 8.3 fl. oz. can


Welch’s 100% Grape Juice = 40 g. per 8 fl. oz.
Mott’s 100% Apple Juice = 28 g. per fl. oz.
Tropicana Orange Juice = 22 g. per 8 fl. oz.

Coffee Drinks:

Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Coolatta with cream = 86 g. per 32 fl. oz.
Starbucks Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino = 68 g. per 24 fl. oz.
McDonald’s Nonfat Hazelnut Latte = 55 g. per 20 fl. oz.

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Alright, so what’s the big deal? And, man, why do we love and crave sugar so much?If you already have a stomach ache just from reading this, jump on over to our dietitian page to find out more about the occupation and contact a dietitian for expert advice on how to reduce the sugar in your diet without depriving yourself of flavor!
A recent study from the American Heart Association reveals that the average American adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. With four grams of sugar in one teaspoon, that is an astonishing number. Even more frightening, a national health survey reveals that teenagers (ages 14-18) are said to consume 34 teaspoons a day. That seems to be the average but I wouldn’t hesitate to assume that many people are ingesting a lot more sugar than the average. The American Heart Association states that women should limit themselves to no more than about 25 grams (about 6 teaspoons) of added sugars per day and no more than 37.5 grams (about nine teaspoons) for men.
The biggest sugar craze culprit is surprisingly not food, like Twinkies or Oreos, but sodas and other drinks! Soda packaging often features fun, enjoyable imagery that gets you to think only positive thoughts instead of all of the sugar in soda.

The Danger of Sugar

Let’s check out why you keep reaching for these sugar bottles (and not a spinach salad):
  • According to a study done by Dr. Paul J. Kenny and Dr. Paul M. Johnson in the March 2010 edition of Nature Neuroscience, high-calorie foods can be as addictive as cocaine, tobacco, and other drugs. No wonder people refer to themselves as “sugar addicts”!
  • When serotonin (your natural “feel good” hormone) levels are low, you feel sad or depressed so you will tend to seek out sugar to get an instant mood lift because it causes a serotonin boost. Unfortunately, you return to your low serotonin levels when the “sugar high” wears off.
  • When you’re tired and hungry and your blood sugar is low, you will naturally seek out carbohydrates (sugars) to provide you with energy and pick you up.
Unfortunately, excessive sugar can lead to many health problems and complications. It has been linked to weight gain, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, tooth decay, and other poor health conditions. The problems with sugar are so far-reaching that you may not even be aware of how damaging the substance actually is. If you currently have health problems, sugar will only exacerbate your condition. The problems of sugar consumption make it unbelievably important to exercise and severely limit your sugar intake. Need help revamping your fitness routine? Follow the PATIENCE plan. In addition, to exercise and eating right, you should switch to drinking a health beverage, like water and unsweetened teas and coffees instead of the sugary substances you’re used to. If you can’t live with just plain H2O, then go for diet sodas, plain coffee with nonfat or low-fat milk, and sugar-free energy drinks. However, there have been studies that claim artificial sweeteners aren’t good for you either. JUST DRINK WATER PEOPLE!
Even with reducing the sugar in your diet, staying fit, especially in college, can be difficult so read up on how to avoid the Freshman Fifteen!

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