The New York Times recently published an article that highlighted how 50 years ago the sugar industry paid researchers to shift the blame from sugar to saturated fat as the primary nutrient responsible for a host of medical issues. According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Cancer is a close second in the mortality rankings but cases are on the rise and in short time will inevitably be the leading cause of death in the US.

Meanwhile as a country we are at an all-time high in obesity rates, and although the link between sugar and some disease processes is in question, few limited benefits of reasonable sugar intake make the negative effects of prolonged overindulgence of sugar difficult to ignore. Aside from the obvious weight gain, don't forget about tooth decay, diabetes, high blood pressure, and addiction, just to name a few.

Conservative estimates say the average American diet includes 4 times the recommended daily amount of sugar. I say this is very conservative considering a can of Coke contains 39 grams, and how many people do you know have just one? Look at your grocery store that dedicates entire aisles to cheap, high sugar filled snacks, drinks, and cereals. Look at fast food restaurants that now have to publish their nutrition facts. Don't be surprised to see some of your favorite menu items you would think are low in sugar have a high count.

Most people are conscious of their fat consumption as it has been drilled into our heads for years. What people lack is the awareness of how much sugar they ingest every day. We are inundated with highly processed foods that are touted as low fat and healthy but contain more sugar than we need. Unfortunately you will not notice the effects of excess sugar until the symptoms arrive.

There are many healthy substitutes out there including honey, stevia, and agave nectar, but just remember that numbers count. So the best advice is to read nutrition labels and keep your daily intake at or below the recommended allowance.

Yours in health,

Keith Pacific