Key points: A recent survey showed that Americans recognize that sugar is bad for them, but are uncertain what to do about it and aren’t aware of how much it effects their every day health.
The survey, published in November 2016, asked about the sugar habits of over 3000 people. Over half of those surveyed had concerns and guilt about their sugar intake and its effects on their weight. 60% of those surveyed wanted to reduce or remove sugar from their diet but weren’t sure how to go about eliminating it.
The addictive properties of sugar are well understood by the clinical community, but most of the lay population don’t realize how addictive sugar is, making it even harder to overcome. Sugar has been shown to disrupt normal cortisol activity, impacting sugar cravings, emotional eating habits, sleep and anxiety. An investigation published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine used National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data to show a strong connection between added dietary sugar intake and cardiovascular (CVD) mortality. Raised sugar intake is also associated with Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) and obesity.
This survey made it clear that most Americans don’t realize how much added sugar they are actually consuming and the addictive qualities of sugar. It also indicates how people still are unsure how a diet high in sugar can have long-term health effects.
Why is this clinically relevant?
- Clinicians should incorporate patient education on appropriate sugar intake, and teaching about the surprising types of foods that contain increased sugar levels
- Patients need to understand the health impacts of increased sugar consumption and adverse effects on cortisol, sleep, anxiety, obesity and risk for CVD and T2DM