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Sweet Nothings

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Even health warriors can fall prey to the devious ways of sugar. In a 2017 study published in Clinical Science, nutrition scientists found that in otherwise healthy men (the control group in the study), eating a high-sugar diet for 3 months—650 calories a day from sugar—raised fat levels in the blood and liver, potentially heightening the risk for cardiovascular disease. It appears that, even in healthy populations, consuming excessive amounts of sugar can alter fat metabolism in ways that could increase the risk for health woes.

Added sugar is pervasive in our food supply, working its way into everything from tomato sauce to bread, so it’s easy to eat too much. The average American adult obtains 17% of daily calories from sweeteners added to foods and drinks, according to a 2016 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You can weed out some of the sugary stuff by examining ingredient lists. Look for options that don’t have sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice and brown-rice syrup, or even so-called “natural sweeteners” such as honey, coconut sugar and maple syrup.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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