Alas, we still see alarming statistics that describe our country’s rampant sugar consumption despite research and efforts to combat it. Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently published this infographic entitled Sugar Too Much of a Sweet Thing describing some of these statistics, and if you haven’t yet seen it is really worth checking out. The first slide here describes how the average American consumes over two-and-a-half times the maximum allowance by the American Heart Association.
Ouch! CSPI’s report goes on to describe those 23 total teaspoons in terms of how many hours of exercise it takes to burn them off, including their origins and what this high level of sugar consumption does to our bodies. Gabrielle Canon in Mother Jones explains new research on how sugar can affect your mind. Researchers from the University of Southern California “hopped up” adolescent rats on sugar and then ran them through mazes. The rodents had a lot more trouble navigating, learning and remembering, but that’s not all:
The researchers also found evidence of swelling in the part of the brain called the hippocampus. The swelling appeared in the adolescent rodents who consumed both sugary solutions, although the results were more pronounced for the rats given high-fructose corn syrup (usually the sweetener used in soda). Damage to this part of the brain is often found in people who suffer from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.”
The folks at CSPI culminate their work every year with Food Day, a celebration of real food to inspire changes in American diets and food policies. Last year there were over 4,700 Food Day events across the U.S. You can either find an event near you or create an event of your own.
Events can be simple, like teaching a cooking class or hosting a farm-to-table meal. Or you can get fancy and organize a forum on the future of our food system, or a task-force on how get more fresh produce into your community. The point is to participate and promote healthy food, and to offer an alternative to our currently struggling food system as exemplified by the prevalence of sugar in the American diet.
Sugar: Too Much of a Sweet Thing via Center for Science in the Public Interest
This Is Your Teenager's Brain on Soda via Mother Jones
Food Day via Food Day