An article by Rodale suggests that the sugar in our diet may be making us old.  I’ll admit, when I first saw the article, I wasn’t really concerned.  I don’t eat dessert very often and would much rather have potato chips than candy.  Of course, we know that sugar can be found in things other than just desserts.  Sodas and juice drinks are often very high in sugar content. We expect to find sugar in breakfast pastries, granola bars and breakfast cereals. But is it hiding in other foods too?

Is Sugar Making You Look Old?

Robert Lustig, MD says that eating too much sugar is stopping the message that you’re full from reaching your brain.  That tricks your brain into thinking that you haven’t eaten. Doctor Lustig also states that:

Fructose, the sweet molecule in sugar, is seven times more potent than the glucose portion of sugar, forming oxygen radicals, leading to higher rates of cell damage and death, and contributing to chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

In simple terms, too much sugar makes you look old. So, not a problem, right? Just cut down on the brownies, chocolate chip cookies and sugary sweets and you should be fine. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. More and more of our convenience foods have sugar added. This is especially true when the product is low-fat, reduced salt, etc.  Extra sugar is added to make it taste “good” to your body. It’s a staggering number but, Americans get 13% of our daily calories from sugar.  That is about 130 pounds of sugar every year.

If that health figure doesn’t scare you enough, 130 pounds of sugar equals about 22 tablespoons of sugar every day.

So where is all of this added sugar coming from? Of course, some of it comes from changes to our eating habits.  Remember when, as a child, dessert or sweets were a special occasion?  I certainly don’t recall my Mother passing out cookies, cake and cupcakes every day.  How many of us make these treats available regularly in our homes and to our children?  Another part of the equation comes from the fact that we use more and more processed foods than ever before.  Fresh tomatoes that we cook ourselves do not have added sugar.  Canned tomatoes from the grocery store do.  The same holds true with many varieties of canned corn.  The next time you pick up a bottle of salad dressing or a can of chicken noodle soup, take a look at the ingredients. You might be surprised.

What do you think? Does the sugar added to many of the foods we eat regularly contribute to the way we look? Do these figures surprise you and will they make you change the food you eat?