Sadly, sugar is a staple in many Americans’ diets. While I try to eat healthy and want to be a healthy example for my kids, sugar is in almost everything we consume. This makes it extremely difficult to limit our intake to the recommended six teaspoons per day (according the American Heart Association).
Fast fact: A 12-ounce can of soda contains more than nine teaspoons of sugar.
Enter Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sugar. He lays out the facts on sugar for us in a humorous, yet completely terrifying, way and uncovers the depths certain companies are willing to go to avoid being exposed. If these facts don’t scare you away from that morning doughnut or afternoon cookie, we don’t know what will.
9 Terrifying facts on sugar from John Oliver that will make you think twice
1. On average, one American eats 75 pounds of sugar each year.
The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is the equivalent of 75 pounds of sugar a year (or, you know, the equivalent of Arrested Development Michael Cera’s weight, as John Oliver jokes).
2. Sugar does the same thing to your brain that cocaine does.
Sugar activates our brain in a special way — similar to that of cocaine. No wonder when kids eat it they can’t sit still!
Sarah Wilson, SheKnows Expert and best-selling author of I Quit Sugar, says that giving up sugar transformed her life. “When I first quit sugar four years ago I treated it as an invitation to try out a new way of living, just to – you know – see how it went. My health was transformed and in a matter of weeks I experienced a mood change. Actually, more accurately, I experienced a mood stabilisation. Since quitting sugar I’ve experienced a steady, calm happiness that has previously eluded me,” Wilson states.
3. Beverages make up 35 percent of total sugar consumption.
About 35 percent of the sugar that Americans consume comes from beverages, but food manufacturers literally put it in everything — including salad dressings, breads, crackers, ketchup and even beef jerky.
4. Too much sugar hurts our brains.
We all know excess sugar isn’t good for us, but studies show that too much of it can actually mess with our brains (and no, it’s not making us smarter).
5. Soda drinkers are more likely to be obese.
There is a direct link (83.3 percent conclusion) between soft drink consumption and obesity and weight gain.
6. The FDA wants us to know how much extra sugar is added to our products.
The FDA is fighting to add a new column to food labels on packages: added sugars. This column will be in addition to the “Sugar” column, which shows total sugar in grams, and will show consumers exactly how much sugar is being added to the product.
7. Multiple food distributors are sending letters to the FDA to prevent this from happening.
That statement alone reveals just how sneaky food manufacturers are. As consumers, don’t we have a right to know exactly what goes into our favorite products?
8. Companies want “Added sugars” to be measured in grams, not teaspoons.
The American Beverage Association states that the ‘Added sugars’ column should be in grams and not teaspoons because teaspoons “may carry an unfair negative connotation that undermines the factual nature of nutrition information.” Say what? Aren’t teaspoons way easier to measure and understand than grams? This just isn’t right.
9. Consumers spend billions each year on Halloween candy.
And finally, this Halloween consumers will spend $2.2 billion on candy alone.
For more facts, and to see John Oliver’s take on sugar in America, check out the video below: