The next time you enter a grocery store I want you to participate in an observation exercise. Take a look at the amount of macronutrient resources that are displayed to the average consumer and make note of the difference in availability among these macronutrients. In particular, pay attention to the convenient reach of carbohydrate resources compared to protein and/or fat resources. Continue this observation exercise by making note of the availability of whole grain carbohydrates as compared to refine carbohydrates. Try this observation exercise next time you visit a school cafeteria, convenience store, waiting room, or service area. It would seem to any unassuming consumer or foreigner as if the world’s most abundant and readily available food resource of refined sugar is the most important resource to consume.
Consider the ubiquitous nature of sugar laden beverages which often layer the shelves and counter tops along grocery stores and restaurants. We must also mention the energy bars, candy bars and sticks of gum that line the register aisles, tempting you once more before you leave. It’s no wonder that we often stigmatize carbohydrates as the source of disease, obesity and even death. Today, we often view carbohydrates in low regard. Despite our understanding of carbohydrates as an important resource for fuel, cognition and it’s measurable influence on hormones and overall body function, we often place blame on carbohydrates as the culprit for various maladies and body composition blunders. Instead, we should shift our scorn and/or attention to its ease in availability rather than its overall function. Sugar additives are ubiquitous in our diet and largely available to many different populations, especially those that are already negatively impacted by a decline in total physical activity. To improve the health standard it is important that we diminish the availability of sugar additives to prevent against excess caloric intake, weight gain and disease that can often result from over-consumption.
It is startling to know that more than 95% sugars in the US diet are added to foods and beverages by manufacturers. Consider, the physical work our ancestors went through to consume calories. Our health and longevity is built on a physiology that promotes physical work and modest consumption of whole, nutrient dense macronutrients in a fairly balance manner. Dietary guidelines suggest a ratio of 45% to 60% of daily intake to be in the form of carbohydrate. However, with the omnipresent nature of added sugar there should be no surprise that the percentage of carbohydrate consumption can often be higher than recommend for the average person. By adding unnecessary sugars in beverages and foods we can limit the unnecessary results that come with it – namely death and disease.
Below is an example of a drink that members at work often consume despite the added sugar within it. It took 15 packets of sugar for me to reach the number of grams listed on the nutrition label. The nutrition facts are a bit deceptive as well. While the serving size is 8 fluid oz with an associated 22 grams of sugar per serving, the bottle is just below 16 oz which results in 42 grams of sugar per bottle.