Is sugar a drug with an addictive side effect; poor health? Forbes examines the problem with sugar.

sugar and bread

Is sugar a drug with an addictive side effect; poor health? Forbes examines the problem with sugar.

For years, there have been many talking heads who have spoken about the problem with sugar and how it is a poison to our bodies. While I personally believe that anything in moderation is likely to not be detrimental to ones health, the fact is that breads (that turn into sugar in our body – simple carbohydrates) and sweet drinks can be addictive. People who eat loads of simple carbohydrates such as refined sugar, pasta and breads are often referred to as carbohydrate junkies.

Apparently, the overabundance of sugar and simple carbs has a side effect of problems such as diabetes and obesity, which seems to be a growing problem not just in the USA but in other countries where these types of food are becoming more prevalent says a new report from Credit Suisse.

Check out the Forbes article here.

Sugar Linked To $1 Trillion In U.S. Healthcare Spending

Dan Munro

It’s not new, but last month’s Credit Suisse report on sugar is both detailed and provocative. The sobering assessment is worth a second look – especially during this week’s binge festival of candy – Halloween.

While the focus of the report is largely financial, there’s something for everyone – including healthcare professionals, researchers, politicians and really all of us as consumers. There are many highlights, but this one is a good summary of the sheer size and scope of excess sugar consumption on the U.S. healthcare system:

“So 30% – 40% of healthcare expenditures in the USA go to help address issues that are closely tied to the excess consumption of sugar.” Credit Suisse Report – Sugar: Consumption At A Crossroads (PDF here)

At this level, the math clearly lacks scientific precision, but it does emphasize the huge burden associated with a single and truly ubiquitous substance – sugar. Assuming a U.S. National Healthcare Expenditure of $3 trillion per year – and further assuming we simply take 33% (the lower end of the Credit Suisse range), the calculation is easy. Basically, the U.S. healthcare system spends about $1 trillion per year (and possibly more) fighting the effects of excess sugar consumption.

The report references a constellation of health effects around that excessive consumption – including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Other known risks – mostly around being overweight and/or obese – include osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cancer. A broader summary list of findings in the 40 page report include these:

The 2012 Global Burden of Disease report highlighted obesity as a more significant health crisis globally than hunger and/or malnourishment.

More than half a billion adults (over age 20) worldwide are obese.

The world average daily intake of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is now 70 grams (17 teaspoons).

A scientific statement issued by the American Heart Association American Heart Association in 2009 recommends that women take no more than six teaspoons of added sugar a day and men no more than nine.

A single, 12 ounce can of regular soda has about 8 teaspoons of sugar.

There’s a bonanza of charts and graphs too, but perhaps the single most compelling one is this one for global soda consumption:

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