High Sugar Consumption Research Paper

Pages: 4 (1471 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Health - Nutrition

High Sugar Consumption

Sugar is a natural source of energy found or added to foods and meant to be burned by metabolism or exercise (Green 2011). When ingested in moderation, it does no harm. It is over-consumption, which has been linked to health-related conditions. Among these conditions are obesity, a damaged immune system, which increases vulnerability to diseases and infections, and displacement of essential vitamins and minerals in the diet (Green).

Fructose and Obesity

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Table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are poisonous when taken in high dosage (Norris 2011). And the high consumption of sugar is behind the rise in the incidence of obesity in our time. These were the conclusions made by pediatric neuro-endocrinologist Robert Lustig of the University of California in San Francisco during a mini-medical school course. He emphasized that the obesity epidemic is social in nature. It brings together the food-selling policy slant of federal agencies and the profit motives of major food corporations against public health interests. Dr. Lustig shared the information that Americans have increased fructose consumption from 15 to 75 grams per day or more in the past century. He noted the rise as occurring three decades ago when high-fructose corn syrup became more widely distributed. Americans are visibly more overweight today than 30 years ago, he said. It is not a case of overeating or lack of physical activity but an increase in the consumption of sugar. He pointed specifically to fructose as the culprit, which comes in two famous forms, i.e., sucrose or table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is ingested in soft drinks and processed foods. Dr. Lustig supported his pronouncement by citing published studies made by him and other researchers (Norris).

TOPIC: Research Paper on High Sugar Consumption Assignment

Findings of another research sustained this pronouncement that high-fructose corn syrup should be replaced with alternative non-caloric sweeteners in beverages (Bray 2004). An analysis of food consumption patterns from 1967-2000 Department of Agriculture consumption tables showed a 1000% increase between 1970 and 1990. This far exceeded intake in any other food or food group. High-fructose corn syrup now constitutes 40% of caloric sweeteners in foods and beverages. It is the only caloric sweetener in soft drinks in the United States. The research team estimated a daily average consumption of 132 kilo calories by 2-year-old Americans. The top 20% of consumers of caloric sweeteners also consume 316 kilo calories from this source. This increased intake explains the increased incidence of obesity (Bray).

The team suggested the replacement of non-caloric sweeteners in sodas and juice drinks to reduce the prevalence of obesity (Bray 2004). Otherwise, these high-caloric beverages should be kept away from easy reach in vending machines in order to reduce their commercially available volume (Bray).

High-Sugar Consumption and Cardiovascular Disease

Short-term studies show the harmful effects of sugar consumption on good cholesterol and triglyceride levels (Howard & Wylie-Rosett 2002). These effects may hasten the development of atherosclerosis, reduce diabetes control, and enhance the formation of dietary AGEs. Increased amount of sugar may increase calorie consumption and increase weight. Replacing whole foods with high-sugar foods also reduces the sufficient intake of vitamins and minerals from these whole food sources. Research data suggest that high sugar intake should be avoided as it has no nutritional value apart from providing calories. High-sugar foods should not displace those with essential nutrients or increase calorie intake (Howard & Wylie-Rosett).

High-Sugar Cereals, Low Nutritional Level for Children

A recent experimental study showed that an intake of high-sugar cereals increases children's total sugar consumption and reduces overall nutritional quality of children's breakfast (Harris et al. 2011). The study was conducted with 91 children and their breakfasts during a summer day camp. They were asked to choose 1 out of 3 types of breakfast. These were high-sugar cereals, low-sugar cereals and low-fat milk, orange juice, bananas, strawberries, and sugar packets. The children liked or loved the type of cereal they chose. The consumptions in the different types did not differ significantly.

Findings also suggested that children will eat low-sugar cereals when they are offered these. Low-sugar cereals are the better option (Harris et al.).

A recent National Health and Nutrition Survey found that teen-agers consume an average of 119 grams of added sugars in their foods and beverages (Welsh et al. 2011).

The survey involved 2,157 teenagers aged 12-18. Their consumption of added sugars in the soft drinks and foods they consume puts them at risk of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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