In the early 1800s, the average American consumed about 12 pounds of sugar per year. According to USDA statistics, the average consumption of sugar, including corn sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup, increased to more than 150 pounds per person by the year 2000. Sugar represents a considerable portion of the calories that many people consume. Sugar leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals. Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, believes high amounts of sugar in the American diet is killing us.

Processed or Refined Sugars

Processed or refined sugars include sweet substances that have been processed and milled to the point that the sugar particles are extremely fine. When processed or refined sugars are eaten, the sugars are able to quickly enter the blood stream. This can spike the blood sugar, causing the body to feel instantly energized. Unfortunately, the energy received from refined sugars is short-lived, and will cause a sudden energy drop shortly afterward. When the energy level drops so suddenly, it causes the body to crave more sugars in order to compensate for the energy loss. This cycle leads to the consumption of excess calories, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Processed or refined sugars include white sugar, corn syrup, refined honey and refined maple syrup. Instead of using refined sugars, chose whole-food sweeteners, such as raw honey or black strap molasses.

Some of the major sources of highly refined grains and hidden sugars that cause high glycemic blood sugar problems are: sodas, ketchup, cereals, fruit juice, jams, jellies, canned fruit, prepared foods, ice cream, cookies, candy, cakes, pies, pastries and most other desserts.

Processed starches that behave like sugar in your body are white flour, white rice, pasta (unless the flour is listed as 100% whole wheat), enriched flour, tapioca, cornstarch and processed breakfast cereals. The most common names for sugar are: barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose and turbinado sugar.