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"Pour some sugar on me" wait, no. seriously don't. | Enlighten

Excessive Consumption of Dietary Sugar

 This time last year I forced myself on a journey. No Sugar for 40 days..  Well, here we are again and now the whole family wants to join :) You can read my previous blog about it here --> #NOSugar Daze

To say it was easy is probably the understatement of the year.

Yet, to ignore the fact that most of us need this in our lives now more than ever would be insanity.

Currently, disease is taking over the health of people from all over the world. America, even though one of the most financially secure countries is still plagued with death and disease much as one would think a third world country would have. These diseases do not focus on race, gender, or age.

It seems in a time when humans are more developed than ever, their health status is worse. 

Why with such technology and advancements in medicine is our populations suffering from detrimental health ailments?

Over the last hundred years, in which our agriculture system has went through numerous changes, one ingredient pops up in more food products and in larger quantities than ever before. SUGAR.
 It has been marketed with numerous names often nearly undetectable ranging from; real, to fake, made from vegetables, and even made in a lab.

How much of this stuff is too much?

Do we even know all the problems these products are causing to our health?

Currently Obesity is a public health crisis among adults living in America.

This problem does seem to span across other countries as well.

The CDC currently estimates that nearly 36 percent of all American Adults ages 20 years and older are overweight and a soaring 69 percent are classified as obese (CDC, 2015).

In 2014, a study was conducted in New York to help correlate the consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and the incidence of being overweight or obese, it gathered intelligence stating that overweight and obese persons consume nearly 572 kcals more daily than those who do not drink sugar sweetened products. Although sugary beverages are not the leading cause of being overweight or obese, it does show there is correlation to when sugary beverages are consumed on average, people continue eating more calories than those who do not indulge in the sweetness.

From 2005- 2007 overweight-obesity was the third leading risk factor for preventable deaths in the United States and the second leading factor for those under the age of 70.

Many of the issues seen with overweight-obesity are cardiovascular, diabetes, and respiratory mortality.

Recently data was collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and it concluded that adults over the age of 20 consume on average 151 kcals per day from sugar-sweetened beverages.

Consuming just one soft drink per day shows a higher frequency of obesity, impaired fasting glucose, high blood pressure, hypertriglyceridemia, and large waist circumference.

It is apparent that increasing just one sugar-sweetened beverage daily into your eating patterns can have an overall effect on your consumption for the rest of the day.

Now, who starts their day with sugary coffee every morning? Show of hands...

Sugar is known to have many effects on the body, some of the least desirable ones being tooth decay, diabetes, and obesity.

After studies conducted on adolescent children it was found that sugar has no effect on hyperactivity in children and the parents who perceived their children to be sugar sensitive often were unable to tell when the child had consumed sugar and when the children had consumed a “sugar-free placebo”.


The study, however was conducted on children and followed three different categories all of which had some time of sugar in their eating plans. The study was set out to conclude that children all acted the same even when given a fake sugar substitute, however there was not a group that did not receive sugar at all.


Scientific studies have shown that even fake sugar “sugar-free” has the same effect on the body, as real sugar only does not supply the calories of other varieties.

Many studies now have concluded that fake sugar “sugar-free” tricks the brain into thinking it is receiving something up to 600 times sweeter than regular sugar.

If the study wanted to in fact conclude that sugar doesn’t have an effect on children’s behavior, it would seem they would have a group that did not receive any sugar at all and not just a chemically made sugar free option.

Health Behavior Theory Goals and Objectives

It is common knowledge that the health of our nation has gotten worse over the years.

The rates of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and dental caries have been constantly on the rise.

One thing all of these health ailments have in common is that leading health professional has suspected the link to over-consumption of dietary sugar. Guidelines for American’s sugar consumption was first established in 2002, which is before many of the dangerous health effects, came to light.

During this time it was recommended that a women consume less than 100 calories (6 teaspoons) and men less than 150 (9 teaspoons)(Corliss, 2014). It is now known that you consume around 9 teaspoons of sugar if you drink one 12-ounce can of soda per day. So essentially you are over consuming sugar if you partake in drinking one can of soda a day.

This is not even to mention that 80% of packaged foods on the shelve today have at least a teaspoon or more of sugar in the ingredients ranging from high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, sugar, or any of the other artificial types.

People are often products of their environments. People will often choose to be apart of situations that are much like the ones they have grow up in or create themselves. Most people will create their environments as well as select ones they are accustomed to. People are determined to select their situations and activities based on past experiences. These fundamental patterns are normally established in early formative years when changes often occur fast. A lot of the acquired behaviors are established through educational, family, and other institutionalized systems. The family structures can be set and influenced by divorce, migration, illnesses, accidents, and other drastic changes. Sociocultural effects can also been seen such as cultural conflicts, military conflicts, political changes as well as new technologies. All of these components make up a person distinct social cognitive approach to life and situations.

Social Cognitive Theory uses the approach that people use these occurrences of their lives to develop motivations, behaviors, and the influences of future interactions (Bandura, 1989). Even after intensive training to figure out learning patterns of humans and why they learn it is still unclear why certain situations stick and help develop a human while others don’t make a difference. It has been found that social factors play an extremely important role in brain development. These exploratory factors help develop maturational factors as wells as help cognitive growth. These topics can be extremely interesting when it comes to the growth and development of a child. The people and learning experience that are predominant in a child’s early developmental time help to shape them and develop their mental processes for a lifetime.

This helps to determine why certain eating patterns are learned and how it directly affects people throughout their lives. In this case seeing or being around certain dietary configurations from parents, care givers, and culture would directly affect the child’s eating patterns and habits for a lifetime.

It is important that American people have an updated list of possible risks associated with the over consumption of sugar because it helps them relate the perceived seriousness of health concerns.
This is to better educate the people who have a focus on their health, well-being as well as helping educate school aged children on healthy food, and setting good habits from early on, this increases the perceived benefits.

This would also help to establish social cognitive skills because it is directly affecting the children-learning environment. Increasing the motivating factor and the time that students are learning healthy eating habits can produce long lasting habits set for life.

Goal 1: To have an updated list of potentially harmful affects over-consumption of sugar in current eating habits can have on the human body and prevalence of disease for the fiscal year of 2017.

Objective 1: To increase the number of Adults that are aware of the potentially harmful effects of the over-consumption of sugar through foods and drinks before the end of fiscal year 2017.
Objective 2: To increase one school per state every 90 days that offers fruits instead of foods and drinks with added sugars with an end state of 400 schools positively affected by October 2017.
Objective 3: Reducing the amount of daily sugar consumed by adults and children by replacing one sugary beverage per day with a glass of water reaching 100,000 households each month by providing education through social media advertisements.
Objective 4: Establishing restrictions on the amount of sugar that is allowed and added to packaged foods to be under 4 tsp. or 16-20 grams non-desserts type foods.

The healthcare systems currently have a high load of patient visits due to the unhealthy status of many of the residents throughout America.

Currently obesity is the third leading risk factor for preventable death, diabetes ranks the second. The annual medical cost of obesity each year in the U.S was $147 billion in 2008 (CDC, 2016).

Given America’s current health status and the rising numbers of preventable disease it is important that education is put in place to help people prevent certain health diseases as well as know the proper ways to treat and manage their conditions.

Goal 1: Reduce the occurrence of Obesity and Diabetes among the American population and improve quality of life of all person who have, or are at risk.

Objective 1: Reduce the annual number of new cases of diagnosed obesity by 9.9% 78.6 million to 70.4 million people affecting 8 million people and diabetes by 9.9% from 29.1 to 26.2 million affecting 3 million people in the population.
Objective 2: Increase prevention behaviors in person at high risk for obesity and diabetes or with pre obesity or pre diabetes by implementing healthy eating habits and reducing recommended sugar intake by the end of fiscal year 2017.

Many American’s are suffering from one or more of preventable health issues.

Currently these conditions are costing billions of dollars each year to treat, manage, and educate patients.

Many are still unaware of the observed dangers that these health issues have on the human body as well as future generations.

How can healthcare profession more readily show the populations the perceived seriousness of the over-consumption of sugar in the typical daily American diet?

The numbers alone should be showing the nations the susceptibility of the problem.
We are obese, we are sick, and it is costing us billions of dollars, which may be all a part to us satisfying a sweet tooth.

The perceived benefits are a nation not strapped by the over consuming costs of healthcare for treatment of preventable medical illnesses and deaths.
A nation that is healthier and able to be more active.

  • This all comes at the cost of perceived barriers of people not wanting to give up the sweetness we have all grown accustomed to.
  • The thought that sugar cannot be that bad for us because if it were why would it be readily available in nearly every food package we consume?
  • Another common barrier is that most television, and print advertisements boldly portray the unrealistic lifestyle and affects of the products in question.

Strategies to Implement Changes

It would seem that the goals discussed are broad enough to encompass multiple cultures and include diversity of all populations living in the Untied States today. Many of these cultures have adapted to some degree to the westernized food system and partake in Americanized foods. Even some of the cultures present are unable to have access to foods of their own culture and are forced to eat American made foods.

In this case it would be beneficial for all cultures to implement sugar restriction and guidelines.
Health care professionals who are able to communicate effectively in multiple languages as well as be knowledgeable in the beliefs and values of the culture being assisted would best accomplish this.
It would also be important to have advertisements in multiple languages that pertain to each culture affected. This strategy is effective because sugar intake and health issues discussed affect all of the prominent population within America.
In order to invoke change within the population it would be beneficial to have the participants move through the Transtheoretical model.

1. First it is important raise their consciousness of the perceived danger of the conditions and over-consumption of sugar.

2. Increase their emotional arousal by allowing the public to speak on how this condition has affected some population’s life.

3. To create awareness of the environmental impact these conditions and the over consumption of sugar is having on the social and physical environments (e.g. billions of dollars being spent on conditions annually in health care costs).

4. Self-Reevaluation helping the person see how it would benefits them in making these health changes. How proud they would feel of themselves for adopting healthier lifestyle habits.

5. Helping people have self liberation from the perceived health behaviors by selecting a water to drink instead of drinking multiple sugary beverages daily.

6. Help educate the populations on stimulus control explaining on how to avoid triggers that could potentially derail their positive health behavior progress.

7. To encourage helping and healthy relationship that supports healthy behavior changes within your life. Continue encouraging people to create partnerships with establishing new lifestyles behaviors.

8. Establish methods on educating people on methods to replace unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones, always bringing water with you to help avoid being thirsty when out and about.

9.Helping the cultures discover ways to have positive reinforcement management in order to remain successful.

10. Empower self-liberation, where people are able to free themselves from behaviors they no longer want in their life. Help establish this for all communities and cultures throughout America.


Bandura, A. (1989), Social Cognitive Theory, Retrieved December 19, 2015 from


CDC, (2016) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, Adult Obesity Facts, Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

Corliss, J. (2014) Eating too much added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease, Retrieved January 9, 2016 from http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021

Hayden, J. (2013) Introduction to Health Behaviors Theory 2nd edition, Chapter 6, Transtheorectical Model, Jones and Bartlett Publishing

Ruff, R., Akhund, A., Adjoian, T., Kansagra, S., (2014) Calorie Intake, Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption and Obesity Among New York City Adults, Journal of Community Health (J COMMUNITY HEALTH), Dec2014; 39(6): 1117-1123. (7p)

Masullo, A., (2013) The University of Vermont, The Importance of Diversity and Multiculturalism in the Classroom, Retrieved from https://www.uvm.edu/~arted/AndreaMasullo/?page_id=738

Song, Sarah, "Multiculturalism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), www.plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2014/entries/multiculturalism/

King, M. (2014) The Importance of Cultural Diversity in Health Care, The University of Vermont, Retrieved from https://learn.uvm.edu/blog-health/cultural-diversity-in-healthcare

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