How Much Added Sugar Is Too Much?
by Michael Greger, M.D.
In 1776 – at the time of the American Revolution – Americans consumed about 4 lbs of sugar per person each year. By 1850, this had risen to 20 lbs, and by 1994, to 120 lbs, and now we are closer to 160. Half of that is fructose, taking up about 10% of our diet. This is not from eating apples, but rather the fact that we’re each guzzling the equivalent of a 16-oz soft drink every day; that’s about 50 gallons a year.
Even researchers paid by the likes of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and The Coca-Cola Company, acknowledge that sugar is empty calories, containing no essential micronutrients, and therefore if we’re trying to reduce calorie intake, reducing sugar consumption is obviously the place to start.
Concern has been raised, though, that sugar calories may be worst than just empty. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the fructose added to foods and beverages in the form of table sugar and high fructose corn syrup in large enough amounts can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and other chronic diseases.
Fructose hones in like a laser beam on the liver, and like alcohol, fructose can increase the fat in the liver, increasing the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is one of the most remarkable medical developments over the past 3 decades – the emergence of fatty liver inflammation as a public health problem here and around the globe. (source)