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Consumer Reports: Why we crave sweets

Posted at 6:20 AM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 09:36:55-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Sugar cravings are real, which can make eating a healthy diet a real challenge. Low on nutrition and high in calories, sugar can contribute to a host of health problems.

“Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and that’s just for starters," says Consumer Reports Health Editor, Ellen Kunes. "Weight gain that’s connected to sugar consumption, that can cause other health problems. We’re talking about high blood pressure, stroke, even some cancers.”

So what are the guidelines for how much sugar a healthy person can eat? Sugars found in fruits, milk and other whole foods are generally fine. But the trouble really begins with added sugars; they are everywhere. Added sugars should make up ten percent or less of your daily caloric intake. That’s about ten teaspoons on a 16-hundred calorie-a-day diet. Many people turn to low calorie sweeteners but some research says they do little to help with weight loss, may actually promote weight gain, and have been linked to possible heart problems and Type 2 diabetes.

“If you’re trying to get yourself off sugar, substitutes can be a useful tool. But just for a limited amount of time," says Kunes.

Why? Your body can get used to a certain level of sweetness, whether it’s from real sugar or sugar substitutes. Consumer Reports recommends limiting both.

There’s some good news ahead about how to keep better track of your sugar intake: next January nutrition labels will change, listing both natural sugars and added sugars.