The facts on sugar and chronic disease: Four new tools to help you communicate the risks

Regular readers of this blog no doubt are familiar with the sour truth: Thanks to the sugar added to processed foods and drinks, American kids gobble up 70 percent more than their recommended “safe” limit each day. Adults consume 40 percent more.

When you alert people to these facts, they may ask, “What’s the harm?” Well, now you have something to hand them, thanks to four new fact sheets developed by our crack research team. 

Sugar_TypeIIDiabetes_final_021417.jpgIn Sugar and Type II Diabetes, they will learn that downing sugary drinks regularly increases the risk of developing type II diabetes by 26 percent. If current trends hold, by 2050 one in three U.S. adults would have diabetes. Black and Hispanic adults are twice as likely to have diabetes as white counterparts (21% versus 11%).

In Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease, readers will discover that regular consumption of 12 to 30 teaspoons a day – for reference, a 20-ounce Mountain Dew has 19 – increases the risk of dying of heart disease or stroke by 30 percent. By 2030, almost half the U.S. population (43.9%) is projected to have some form of cardiovascular disease. 

Those kids who are eating so much sugar? They get a lot of it from fruit-flavored drinks masquerading as “juice” and other sugary beverages, the regular consumption of which makes it 55 percent more likely they will be obese. As you no doubt know – and will learn more about in Sugar and Obesity – obesity is associated with greater risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other maladies.

Giving kids a few sugary drinks a week greatly increases the odds you’ll be paying higher dental bills – about 31 percent greater as we learn in Sugar and Tooth Decay. One-third of children age 2-8 have cavities in their baby teeth. One in five children 6–11 have cavities in their permanent teeth.

We hope you find these fact sheets enlightening and useful. If you have ideas to improve them or for future tools, please let us know. 


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