Lowering Sugar Intake Can Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

Lisa Nelson Health Pro March 19, 2010
  • In January 2010, New York governor David A. Paterson proposed placing a tax on sugar sweetened beverages as a way to decrease intake of high calorie drinks. The thinking is that by reducing the intake of high calorie, high sugar beverages the rate of obesity will be decreased along with obesity related diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and cancer . By reducing obesity related diseases healthcare costs for the state would be reduced. The state of New York currently spends ~$7.6 billion per year to treat these diseases.

     

    Did you know last year senate leaders were considering a tax on soda and other sugary drinks to help pay for changes to the US health-care system? This would potentially put a federal excise tax on soda, some fruit drinks, ready-to-drink teas, and sports drinks, but not diet beverages. It's been estimated that a 3 cent tax per 12 ounces of these sweetened beverages would provide $24 billion over a 4 year period.

     

    Rising Rates of Obesity

     

    Since 1983 the amount of sugar American's eat and drink has increased nearly 30%. Back in 1985 no state had an obesity rate greater than 20%, but today only one state (Colorado) has an obesity index less than 20%. The intake of sugar in the US is a major contributor to the soaring rates of obesity. Harvard studies have even linked soda intake to the doubling rates of obesity in children over the past 15 years. The researchers found for each additional 12 ounce

    can of soda consumed per day the risk of becoming obese increased 1.6 times.

     

    Sugar Recommendations

     

    The United States Department of Agriculture recommends sugar intake be limited to 10 teaspoons per day - 150 calories. The average American consumes about 34 teaspoons of sugar daily - 510 calories.

     

    One 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola or Pepsi provides ~10 teaspoons of sugar (150 calories). Plus, don't forget how portion sizes are on the rise. Do you limit yourself to 1 can of soda? Are you drinking a 20 ounces bottle? More than one? It adds up. The super sized sodas you can get at some fast food restaurants are actually 4-5 regular cans of soda.

     

    Impact of sugar on your health

     

    A high intake of sugar leads to a number of health problems. Here's just one very simplified explanation of how a high intake of sugar, such as soda, can lead to health problems. When you consume soda and other sweetened beverages blood sugar levels rise , which leads to the release of insulin and corresponding fat storage. Increasing fat stores equals higher rates of obesity and the diseases associated with obesity.

     

    Some of the diseases associated with obesity include - cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure , high cholesterol, high triglycerides , insulin resistance ), diabetes, osteoarthritis, cancer, sleep apnea , abdominal hernias, varicose veins, gout, gall bladder disease, respiratory problems, and liver malfunction.

     

    The US healthcare system spent $86 billion dollars in 2008 to treat diseases associated with obesity. It's estimated the expense with quadruple over the next decade.

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    So, what do you think?

     

    Should we place a tax on soda and other sweetened beverages? This would provide a way for those who choose consume this high calorie, high sugar drinks to begin to off set the cost of rising healthcare costs linked to its intake.

     

    Please share your thoughts below and be sure to sign up for The Heart of Health and receive the special report How to Make Heart Healthy Changes into Lifelong Habits at http://www.hearthealthmadeeasy.com.