Do you realize that you could be consuming too much sugar? Do you realize that it may not even be your fault? Well, according to a new study, adults who consumed 25% of their daily calories as fructose, or high-fructose corn syrup beverages, may have over-exceeded their recommended limit, which is a percentage that falls within established government guidelines.
“This study may prove that normal sugar levels within the government’s guidelines may actually be too high,” says Christy Shatlock, MS/RD, and one of the lead dietitians for bistroMD. “When adults in this study consumed this percentage of sugar within a two-week period, their serum levels of cholesterol and triglycerides increased significantly. This means an increase in risk of heart disease, as well as other conditions like stroke and heart attack.”
So, what does this mean for you? Well, it could mean that you will have to be a little more knowledgeable about the foods you eat, even if the government’s guidelines say they are okay.
Our dietitian explains the findings of this study, and how you can be a little more careful about selecting the foods you eat.
What Does this Study Prove?
“This study was conducted in order to determine if the normal sugar levels recommended by the US Department of Health, and the US Department of Agriculture are too high,” says Christy.
The study, set to be released by the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, in October of 2011, say that the government may want to think about reevaluating their guidelines for recommended normal sugar levels.
In this study, researchers took 48 overweight and normal-weight adults between the ages of 18-40 years, and had them consume beverages that contained fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, or glucose at the 25% recommended calorie intake for two weeks.
At the end of the study period, participants who consumed fructose or high-fructose corn syrup saw elevated blood levels of lipoprotein, as well as elevated cholesterol and triglycerides.
“Even though these elevated levels of cholesterol suggest an increased risk for conditions like heart disease or diabetes, there is no direct proof that a high sugar diet can actually promote these diseases, and that the dietary guidelines are conflicting,” says Christy. “As a dietitian, however, I can recommend that you don’t need to have 25% of your dietary nutrition coming from sugar sources.”
Ways to Avoid the Sweet Temptation
Even though this study doesn’t prove that US guidelines for sugar are too high, it does show you how important it is to monitor to your own sugar intake.
“In reality, we all know when we have crossed the threshold of what is considered to be normal sugar levels,” says Christy. “Decreased energy levels, nutritional deficiencies, a slower metabolism are all good indicators that you may be consuming too much sugar in your diet.”
When shopping for food, it’s always important that you pay attention to labels.
“Unhealthy sugars can be hidden on labels as other ingredients,” says Christy. “When shopping, always check the label and be extra cautious of foods that have added sugars or caloric sweeteners. These sugars have little to no nutritional value.”
There are healthy sugars that your body does need, however, and these come from healthier foods like fruits.
“Fruit is a good source of sugar, as it provides our body energy in the form of glucose,” says Christy. “Our bodies need glucose to maintain adequate energy, and it is also needed to maintain a healthy metabolism.”
What’s one thing to keep in mind if you are questioning normal sugar levels in your diet?
“Avoid junk food, like candy and cookies,” says Christy. “They are good every once in a while, but can easily become an unhealthy habit.”