GILBERT, Ariz. – November is National Diabetes Month, and SweetLeaf Sweetener, maker of plant-based, zero-sugar/carbs/calories sweeteners, continues to give consumers the tools to reduce sugars in their foods, beverages and recipes.
Of all foods and beverages, sugar-laden drinks including soda, fruit juice, sweet tea, and energy drinks probably add more sugar to our diets than anything else Americans consume. According to Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a typical 20-ounce soda contains 15-18 teaspoons of sugar and more than 240 calories. The American Heart Association recommends a daily added sugar limit of no more than 9 teaspoons/36 grams/150 calories for men, and 6 teaspoons/25 grams/100 calories for women. All children 5 and younger should avoid drinking flavored milks, toddler formulas, plant-based non-dairy milk, caffeinated beverages and sugar- and low-calorie sweetened beverages.
“SweetLeaf Sweetener offers a deliciously satisfying, plant-based alternative. SweetLeaf products are a great alternative to sugar because they deliver sweet taste without the calories, sugar, carbohydrates and artificial ingredients. Our products are made from natural stevia leaf extract,” said Carol May, CEO of Wisdom Natural Brands, maker of the SweetLeaf family of products. “Because SweetLeaf contains zero calories, zero carbs, and a non-glycemic response, consumers can sweeten food, beverages, and recipes without impacting blood sugar. Switching to great-tasting SweetLeaf will reduce daily added dietary sugar intake.”
Added sugar is a major contributor to obesity and diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. During November particularly, Americans are urged to watch consumption of added sugar and be aware of the warning signs for diabetes.
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, so it’s important to know as much as possible about this silent killer. Here are a few diabetes statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA):
1 out of 10 people have diabetes
1 out of 4 people don’t realize they have diabetes
1 out of 3 people has prediabetes
9 out of 10 people don’t realize they are pre-diabetic
85.2% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese
The prevalence of diabetes in the U.S. increased by 382% from 1988 to 2014
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. When one’s body is working properly, much of the food we eat is turned into blood glucose. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps the glucose from the food we eat to get into cells where it’s used as energy.
When the body doesn’t make enough insulin, or the insulin is not being used efficiently, the glucose stays in the blood and never gets to the cells. The buildup of sugar in the blood can cause many health issues including cardiovascular risk.
There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Those with type 1 diabetes are unable to make enough insulin. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an inherited genetic variant, is usually first discovered in children, and cannot be prevented.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body produces insulin but is unable to use it properly. In adults, 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes is type 2. Those most at risk of getting type 2 diabetes are those that are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, are physically inactive, and are over 45 years old. Doctors agree that the most important factor in prevention and management is maintaining the proper weight.
Obesity results when more calories are consumed than are burned. And what is the main cause of that imbalance? Sugar. Sugar is prevalent in everything we eat and drink but is cleverly disguised on food labels with so many other names, most of us don’t even realize we’re consuming it.