Let’s face it. Americans consume too much sugar. My patient’s food diaries reflect countless ounces of regular soda and fruit drinks consumed. Their diaries are riddled with other high sugar foods like cookies, doughnuts, chocolate, candy, and ice cream. Many of these foods and beverages contain high- fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a sweetener that has been blamed for the obesity epidemic in the United States. Many people ask me whether HFCS is “better or worse” than regular sugar. My response is generally the same each time: a diet that is high in any kind of sugar can put one at risk for developing a variety of health problems. Since regular sugar and HFCS both contain ~4 calories per gram, and a pint of vanilla ice cream, for example, may contain 88 grams of sugar, those calories will start to add up fast and cause one to become overweight. Someone carrying a lot of excess weight is at risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The American Heart Association recommends that people get no more than 100-150 calories a day from added sugar of any source. This is around 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and 9 teaspoons of sugar for men. My job is to help my patients begin to reduce added sugar from their diet. One of my patients may substitute a fresh fruit salad for the slice of pie after dinner. Another may start to serve their kids low sugar juice or lemon infused water instead of sugary fruit punch at dinner. One thing is for sure. Removing a lot of added sugar from your diet will help you to have more energy, help you to lose weight, and help you to feel good overall.

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