Sugar affects your brain as well as your body..

Here’s a quick question: How many spoonfuls of high-fructose corn syrup did you eat yesterday?

Oh, you don’t recall slurping down any of the hyper-sweet corn extract? Well, you did—about eight teaspoons’ worth, according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture. In fact, the average American consumed 27 pounds of the stuff last year.

But while 8 teaspoons of artificially manufactured syrup may seem like an awful lot, it’s only a drop in the sugar bucket. The USDA’s most recent figures find that Americans consume, on average, about 32 teaspoons of added sugar every single day. That sugar comes to us in the form of candies, ice cream and other desserts, yes. But the most troubling sugar of all isn’t the added sugar we consume on purpose; it’s the stuff we don’t even know we’re eating.

In recent years, the medical community has begun to coalesce around a powerful new way of looking at added sugar: as perhaps the number one most significant health threat in America. But what exactly is “added sugar,” and why do experts suddenly believe that it’s the ISIS of nutrition?

When they talk about “added sugar,” health experts aren’t talking about the stuff that we consume from eating whole foods. “Added sugars are sugars that are contributed during the processing or preparation of foods and beverages,” says Rachel K. Johnson, PhD, RD, professor of nutrition at The University of Vermont. So lactose, the sugar naturally found in milk and dairy products, and naturally occurring fructose, the sugar that appears in fruit, don’t count. But ingredients that are used in foods to provide added sweetness and calories, from the much-maligned high fructose corn syrup to healthier-sounding ones like agave, date syrup, cane sugar, and honey, are all considered added sugars.

Time

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