In recent years, doctors and governmental organizations have become increasingly interested in a possible connection between the sugar added to many prepared foods and the rising obesity epidemic in the United States.
Sugar is added to most pre-prepared foods because it may make food tastier, and thus usually more appealing to the consumer. Today, pre-prepared foods are a significant part of the American diet in many households. Due to changes in social roles and the centralization of agriculture, Americans have consumed an increasing amount of pre-prepared foods since the 1950s.
Because many consumers associate sweetness with the appeal of a product, many pre-packaged foods contain sugar beyond the amount most consumers would add if they prepared the same foods at home.
Although naturally occurring sugars do occur in many types of foods, the sugars added to these items during processing have been shown to be correlated with an increasing caloric intake among Americans. This increase in calories beyond what a person needs to remain healthy has resulted in weight gain for many individuals. On a large scale, this increased caloric intake may also be related to the increasing epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently launched an effort to increase awareness among consumers of the connection between high sugar intake and increased risk for obesity and diabetes. One part of this effort has been to create a table indicating the high amount of sugars in many popular processed foods.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.