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When The Archies sang, "Oh, honey/Ah, sugar, sugar/You are my candy girl/And you got me wanting you," they could have been describing this country's sweet addiction. The average American eats more than 152 pounds of sugar annually!

Some of that is from sugar bombs like ice cream — you're each eating 23 pounds a year! But a lot of what gets consumed is snuck into foods. Even if you're careful, you may not know you're getting a dose of the inflammation-causing additive that ups your risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, dementia and some cancers.

The best solution is to read nutrition labels (added sugars are listed) and restaurant postings. At the grocery store, keep an eye out for fruited yogurts (up to 25 grams of sugar in 6 to 7 ounces of some brands), breads (one brand's oatmeal bread has 8 grams added sugar in two slices), canned soups (5 grams added in 1 cup of butternut squash soup) and frozen vegetables with sauce (3 ounces of a sesame sauce with mixed veggies contains 6 grams of sugar from high fructose corn syrup and brown and plain sugar). In restaurants, sugar can pop up anywhere, from the dextrose coating Mickey D's French fries to a heart-stopping 40 grams of sugar in Wendy's apple pecan chicken salad.

The government's recommended intake of added sugar is 50 grams daily. We say that's way too much. To protect your brain, heart and sex life, dodge all added sugars and enjoy sweets from fruit and 70% cacao dark chocolate (1 ounce a day).

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

King Features Syndicate

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