Limiting added sugar to 6 teaspoons/day could protect your health

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Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that is found naturally in many foods like fruits and vegetables.

However, it is also added to many processed foods and drinks like soda, candy, baked goods, and even some savory foods like sauces and condiments.

While our bodies do need some sugar to function properly, too much sugar can be harmful to our health.

When we eat sugar, our body breaks it down into glucose, which is used as fuel for our cells.

However, when we consume too much sugar, the excess glucose is stored in our liver and muscles as glycogen.

If our glycogen stores are full, the excess sugar is stored as fat, which can lead to weight gain and obesity.

In addition to weight gain, excessive sugar intake has been linked to a number of health problems. For example, consuming too much sugar can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

This is because when we consume sugar, our body releases insulin, a hormone that helps transport glucose from our bloodstream into our cells.

Over time, if our body produces too much insulin in response to high sugar intake, it can become less effective at lowering our blood sugar levels, leading to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes.

Eating too much sugar can also lead to other health problems, such as heart disease. When we consume sugar, it can increase our blood triglyceride levels, which are a type of fat in our blood.

High levels of triglycerides have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Furthermore, too much sugar can harm our dental health.

When we consume sugary foods and drinks, the sugar reacts with the bacteria in our mouth to produce acid, which can erode our tooth enamel over time, leading to cavities and tooth decay.

A recent umbrella review of existing meta-analyses, which looked at 73 studies and 83 health outcomes, found that high dietary sugar consumption is generally more harmful than beneficial for health, especially in cardiometabolic disease.

The study found that significant harmful associations between dietary sugar consumption and 18 endocrine/metabolic outcomes, 10 cardiovascular outcomes, seven cancer outcomes, and 10 other outcomes (neuropsychiatric, dental, hepatic, osteal, and allergic) were detected.

The review found that moderate-quality evidence suggested that the highest versus lowest dietary sugar intake was associated with increased body weight and body fat accumulation.

In addition, low-quality evidence indicated that each serving/week increment of sugar-sweetened beverage intake was associated with a 4% higher risk of gout.

Each 250 mL/day increment of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was associated with a 17% and 4% higher risk of coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality, respectively.

The team recommends reducing the intake of free sugars or added sugars to below 25 g/day (approximately 6 teaspoons/day).

They also suggest limiting the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to less than one serving/week (approximately 200-355 mL/week) are recommended to reduce the adverse effect of sugars on health.

The study was published in The BMJ.

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