Avoiding the Perils of Processed Sugar

There has been plenty of speculation in the medical field that high fructose corn syrup, the main sweetener in packaged treats like soda and candy, may make people more susceptible to obesity and diabetes. Well, we've got good news and bad news. High fructose corn syrup isn't any worse for you than other processed sugars, but it is just as bad. And Americans are getting sicker every year because of their sugar habit. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, annual per capita sugar consumption increased 30 percent from 1966 to 2001, from 113 pounds to 147 pounds per person. And while the USDA recommends 8 teaspoons per day, you can get most of that from a low-sugar diet without any additional sweets. The body does need glucose, of course, but Elisa Zied, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, says you should get it from natural sources like fruit. To decrease your sugar intake, avoid sodas, candies and baked goods, even the 'fat-free' kind, which may be low in fat but high in sugar and calories. The next time you're jonesing for a sugar fix, instead of reaching into the freezer for ice cream, try an apple. It may just satisfy that craving. For more tips on how to limit your added sugar consumption, go to the Center for Science and Public Interest
—Alexandra Gekas