It's that time of year again. We're entering into what I call the Season of Sugar Overload, beginning with Halloween, where, as you well know, it's considered normal and inevitable for most of you to consume lots of candies.
Yes, Halloween on Oct. 31 is National Sugar Overload Day.
Unfortunately, most of you — i.e., the average American — doesn't need a National Sugar Overload Day to get license to over-indulge.
The average American consumes a whopping 22 teaspoons of refined sugar a day from hidden or overt sweeteners in packaged, boxed, or canned foods and beverages, according to recent statistics.
In my opinion, though, most of you are taking in far more sugar than that — you're consuming more like 50 teaspoons per person each day.
Of course, you may think you don't consume that much. Years ago, I didn't realize I was that hooked.
But after releasing my sugar addiction in 1998 (on doctor's orders), I learned that I was killing myself (and not so slowly) with sugar — specifically candies. For me, it was Halloween every day!
Now, I'm dedicated to dishing the sour scoop about sugar so that you can have a happier, healthier, more enjoyable life.
Which brings me back to this 22-teaspoons–day figure.
It's easy to consume that much In fact, just add up the sweeteners you get from a bowl of most breakfast cereals, a can of soda, a granola bar and three small cookies, and you've already topped 22 teaspoons of sugar.
Anyhow, given the fact that Halloween is upon us soon, a group of us health experts, researchers, authors, nutritionists, physicians, and concerned citizens have joined together to help wake you up to sugar's dangers.
We've banded together to celebrate the first annual Sugar Addiction Awareness Day (SAAD), which kicks off the day before Halloween, on October 30, 2011.
The mastermind behind Sugar Addiction Awareness Day is Jill Escher, who, like me, has personally triumphed over her sugar addiction.
She also wrote about her success (even offering tips) in her new book, Farewell, Club Perma-Chub: A Sugar Addict's Guide to Easy Weight Loss.
Jill makes the important point that while Halloween may seem like an innocent occasion, but "the reality is that millions of Americans are hooked on refined sugars, and it starts in their youth."
Chronic consumption of sugar can lead to a plethora of diseases, including obesity, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, as I point out in my book Sugar Shock.
Join our worthwhile effort. Just check out the helpful website, End Sugar Addiction Now, where you can see a collection of healthy and inexpensive Halloween ideas that can take the place of sugar.
You'll also get some ideas for reducing sugar at home, in the schools, in the community and at work. The website also offers a list of resources about Sugar Addiction and an extensive Q & A section.
Those of us who support Sugar Addiction Awareness Day include:
- Gary Taubes, award-winning journalist and best-selling author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat. Taubes is widely credited for writing groundbreaking pieces that have changed the way we understand today's chronic diseases.
- Nicole Avena, Ph.D, University of Florida. Dr. Avena's pioneering research, using rodent models, has demonstrated the addictive qualities of highly palatable refined foods. (See a fascinating video here.)
- Zoe Harcombe, nutritionist, obesity expert, and author of The Harcombe Diet and The Obesity Epidemic, and host of the podcast "Diet and Health Today."
- Ashley Gearhardt, doctoral candidate, Clinical Psychology, and with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. Gearhardt’s 2011 study revealing patterns of addiction based on brain scans of people affected with compulsive overeating was widely reported. (Watch this fascinating video here about "Food & Addiction: What it is, How it is Measured in Humans."
- Darlene Kvist, Licensed Nutritionist, host of the podcast "Dishing Up Nutrition." Ms. Kvist has helped thousands of clients lose addictions, lose weight and regain their health through proper nutrition. Ms. Kvist is located in Minnesota.
- Jimmy Moore, host of "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb,” one of the most popular health podcasts on iTunes. Mr. Moore has interviewed hundreds of health experts, has written two books relating to the subject, and himself found recovery from sugar addiction through a low-carb food plan.
- Jeff O’Connell, editor, fitness expert, and author of the recently published Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America's Deadliest Epidemic and The Simple Way to Beat It.
- Fred Pescatore, M.D., weight loss physician and author of The Hamptons Diet. Dr. Pescatore, who began his career working with Dr. Robert Atkins, has been helping patients recover from Sugar Addiction and find permanent weight loss for decades.
- Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., physician and author of Beat Sugar Addiction Now! Dr. Teitelbaum specializes in helping patients recover from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and other conditions related at least in part to Sugar Addiction.
- Yours Truly. I'm author of Sugar Shock. The reason I've been not as active lately is that I've been finishing my next book, Beyond Sugar Shock, which is set for release next spring from Hay House. (I kicked sugar back in 1998).
Although in an ideal world, you'd have no refined sugar at all, I'm realistic.
According to the American Heart Association, adult women should consume no more than 6 teaspoons a day.
Adult men may have 9 teaspoons a day for adult men.
Meanwhile, the AHA’s recommends no more than 3 teaspoons for children.
As noted previously, today, most of you are vastly exceeding these maximums, with the average adult intake consuming about 22 teaspoons, and teens, about 34 teaspoons. (Again, I think most people consume more, but I'm using the often-cited stats.)
To illustrate sugar content of common foods, jsut look at how much sugar is found in soda, thanks to SugarStacks.com.
For instance, one 12-ounce can has 39 grams of sugar.
To calculate how many teaspoons that is, just divide by 4, and you come to nearly 10 teaspoons os sugar (about 9.75 tsp.)
Meanwhile, a Snickers 2 to Go bar — which you may seen in stores lately — contains 23 grams of sugar or 5.75 tsp. of sugar.
Bear in mind that only single sugary drink or candy treat can put a child well above the limit.
A study in the journal, Pediatrics cites a much higher figure. According researchers, soda contributed about "67% of all sugar-sweetened beverage calories among the adolescents, whereas fruit drinks provided more than half of the sugar-sweetened beverage calories consumed by preschool-aged children."
"On a typical weekday, 55% to 70% of all sugar-sweetened beverage calories were consumed in the home environment, and 7% to 15% occurred in schools."
The researchers concluded that children and adolescents today "derive 10% to 15% of total calories from sugar-sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juice." Plus, they taking in more and more.
"Schools are a limited source for sugar-sweetened beverages, suggesting that initiatives to restrict sugar-sweetened beverage sales in schools may have an only marginal impact on overall consumption. Pediatricians’ awareness of these trends is critical for helping children and parents target suboptimal dietary patterns that may contribute to excess calories and obesity."
Join us on Sugar Addiction Awareness Day and in the coming week, which I'm dubbing Sugar Addiction Awareness Week.
This is a wonderful opportunity to help us spread the word that if you just cut back on your consumption of candies, other refined desserts, and processed carbs, you could easily shed weight, get more energetic, possibly halt or reverse such diseases as cancer and type 2 diabetes, and boost your libido.
Please join the Sugar Addiction Awareness Hour on my Gab with the Gurus Radio Show. It will take place Tues., Nov. 1 at 2 pm EST, the day after Halloween, with a number of top experts. Stay tuned for details.
Also, stay tuned for some tips to deal with what I call Halloween Havoc.