This Halloween, you may want to think twice before polishing off that big bag of candy corn and devouring every single one of those delicious little peanut butter cups. Sure, we all know that excessive sugar consumption can cause cavities, weight gain, and ferocious cravings. But consuming too much of the white stuff can have many other unexpected side effects as well.
Sugar sneaks into so many products: Store-bought salad dressing, barbecue sauce, premade soup, canned baked beans, low-fat yogurt, and spaghetti sauce are just a few of the innocent-looking culprits. All sugar doesn’t come dressed up as a little white square cube, either. Some of sugar’s aliases include dextrose, sucrose, sucralose, fructose, agave, and the most pervasive of all, high-fructose corn syrup.
The World Health Organization recommends consuming no more than 5 percent of daily caloric intake from sugar (6 teaspoons for women, 9 teaspoons for men) for optimal health, yet the average American takes in about 20 teaspoons.
To optimize your health, it’s best to stay away from added sugars whenever possible. There’s a big difference between the natural sugar in a nectarine and the added sugar in those tasty butter crackers. Added sugar can be difficult to spot, but a little label detective work can go a long way to improve your health.
So how do you know if you’ve been indulging in too many treats, or been duped by those many hidden sources of sugar? As with everything, moderation is key. We’ve got some signs to look for, before you head too far down that sugary path. Indulging in a treat is healthy, and should be nothing to feel badly about. But if you’re regularly experiencing any of these signs, it may be time to take note of exactly how much sugar you’re really consuming. Because it can be a tricky little beast!