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Sugar: Candy Or Killer? - Some Teens Eat 500 Lbs. A Year

Updated on June 13, 2009

Another concern which most nutritionists agree upon is that in some individuals calories from sugar may be replacing calories from other carbohydrate sources which would contribute vitamins, minerals, protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber in addition to the calories. How often someone says, "I can't eat that baked potato because I have to count my calories." Then that same person may chug a soft drink without giving a single thought to its caloric content. Yet a baked potato of medium size has only about 90 calories and gives the body 3 grams protein, 22 grams complex carbohydrates, 10 milligrams calcium, and 25 milligrams vitamin C. (Note that nothing has been said about the calories from the butter or sour cream that may be dolloped onto that otherwise healthful potato.)

Another thing nutritionists agree on is the role of sugar in the development of dental cavities. Of all the carbohydrates we eat, sucrose is the one most readily used by mouth bacteria for acid production and is the most consistently damaging to the teeth. The way cavities start is that the tooth enamel is broken down by contact with this acid. The longer the acid is allowed to remain in contact with the enamel, then the greater the damage. Eventually the enamel will be broken down and a cavity will form. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that foods and snacks be selected which are lower in sucrose content, for example, milk rather than chocolate milk, fresh fruits as opposed to dried fruits, popcorn or toast as opposed to sweet rolls or cookies, or sugar-free soft drinks rather than drinks flavored with caloric sweeteners. The fact that the consumption of some artificial sweeteners has been connected with the development of cancer apparently does not seem to dissuade the ADA against its endorsernent of these man-made sweeteners.

During the last 80 years, the pattern of carbohydrate consumption has shifted, with potato and cereal consumption dropping about 60 percent, vegetable (other than the potato) and fruit consumption remaining about the same, and with sugar consumption rising about 25 percent. The rise in sugar consumption does not include the sugar used in the manufacture of alcoholic and carbonated beverages. It has been estimated that if these are included, the consumption of sugar per American averages about 120 pounds.

You may be able to say truthfully that you have not eaten 120 pounds of sugar in a year, that you drink your coffee black, that you don't eat much cake or pie, and that you never drink cola or alcoholic beverages, However, if these estimates are correct, this means that for every person like you there is another who consumes an enormous amount of sugar, thereby bringing the average up to 120 pounds. It has been estimated that some teenaged boys consume about 500 pounds of sugar a year, mostly in the form of soft drinks and snack foods.

Many other scientists disagree with this data They argue that the average totals should be much closer to 70 pounds. But a same time they also note there has been a 35 percent increase in the per capita quantity of refined sugar used in the last few decades, while the consumption of all carbohydrates has dropped by approximately 25 percent. At the present time, beverages account for the largest industrial use of sugar, with cereal and bakery goods close behind in the tallies of the total amount of sugar used.

Continued In Sugar: Candy Or Killer? - Does Sugar Intake Trigger Type 2 Diabetes?

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      7 years ago

      When you have statements that teenagers are consuming 500 pounds per year, you really need to provide a reference.

      Statistics from 2000 showed the average American to consume 152 pounds, with the record-high of 155 pounds in 1999 (

      Please provide a reference.

      Thank you.


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