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Does Sugar Kill? The Latest Research for Kids and Adults

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Monday, October 22, 2012

The evidence is mounting that the excess of sugar consumption in the American diet is causing diseases that kill potentially hundreds of thousands annually. Robert Lustig, a leading researcher and authority on childhood obesity at the University of California – San Francisco, makes the case in “The Toxic Truth About Sugar” in the February 2012 edition of the journal Nature. Sugar, especially added sugars, are “addictive in much the same way as cigarettes and alcohol, and that overconsumption of them is driving worldwide epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.” 

The health costs for Americans resulting from sugar-related illnesses are estimated to be about $150 billion annually.

Other researchers have established that sugar causes metabolic syndrome. This is a condition “characterized by a cluster of abnormalities … including weight gain, increased insulin levels, and elevated triglycerides.” This condition is the primary cause of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and affects at least 75 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also reports: “
Health care providers are finding more and more children with type 2 diabetes, a disease usually diagnosed in adults aged 40 years or older.”

Most children are consuming excessive sugar from sweetened drinks, snacks, and breakfast cereals. Testing by The Environmental Working Group found that a one cup serving of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks contains more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie. Below are the ten most decadent name-brand cereals researched by the EWG. For healthier alternatives see their PDF report link below.

The top 10 worst, ranked by % of sugar by weight:
Kellogg's Honey Smacks
Post Golden Crisp
Kellogg's Froot Loops Marshmallow
Quaker Oats Cap'n Crunch's OOPS! All Berries
Quaker Oats Cap'n Crunch Original
Quaker Oats Oh!s
Kellogg's Smorz
Kellogg's Apple Jacks
Quaker Oats Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries
Kellogg's Froot Loops Original

The award-winning web site kidshealth.org offers a comprehensive number of helpful articles for parents, teens, and kids. Almost every health topic is covered and the For Kids section offers fully illustrated, kid-focused, concise information. Click "Staying Healthy" then "Fabulous Food" for a list of excellent articles on snacks, sugar, calories and fatty foods. Click "Health Problems" then "Diabetes" to learn the basics and receive helpful tips on this increasing problem for children.

Gary Taubes and Cristin Kearns Couzens, “Sweet Little Lies”, Mother Jones, November-December 2012 

Photo: Mikecny (flickr)

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.