Many people turned to baking and consuming comforting treats during the pandemic. Experts in a recent Consumer Reports article explained how high amounts of added sugars can be harmful to health, and offered advice for those looking for ways to cut back.
Frank Hu, Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, noted that added sugars can easily add excess calories to the diet, ultimately increasing risk of weight gain and health consequences such as diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
“If you consume too much sugar, your insulin stays elevated for extended periods of time,” Hu explained in the July 18, 2021, article, noting that this makes insulin less effective at controlling blood sugar. In addition, he said, fructose is metabolized in the liver, where it increases fat production, raising the risk of chronic inflammation and other negative outcomes.
Other experts quoted in the story suggested making a few simple changes to ease into lower sugar consumption. These include reading nutrition labels on products where added sugars can unexpectedly hide—such as condiments and packaged breads—and opting for those with the lowest sugar content. In addition, purchasing unsweetened coffee, cold drinks, and foods like oatmeal or yogurt and adding your own sweeteners and flavors may help train the palate away from excessive sweetness, the article suggested.
Read Consumer Reports article: How to Eat Less Sugar