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    In the Loop: When it comes to sugar, there really is too much of a good thing

three foods - apples, bananas and pastries - with piles of sugar cubes in front of each, illustrating relative sugar content of eachIt’s no secret that curbing a sugar habit is good for your overall health. Whether you start slow or go cold turkey, before you know it your cravings for the sweet stuff will be in the rearview mirror.

When it comes to sugar, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. The average American eats 100 pounds of the sweet stuff each year — far more than is good for us, no matter how good it tastes. And it's not just ice cream, cookies and candy that are to blame. A recent study found "68 percent of all packaged supermarket products have added sugar," reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

You probably know all of that sugar's not good for your waistline. But there are other health consequences as well. Donald Hensrud, M.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, tells the Star Tribune that added sugar is "a quadruple whammy" health-wise:

  • It adds empty calories.
  • It adds no nutritional value.
  • It's linked to tooth decay, inflammation, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
  • It can displace healthier foods (for example, when you fill up on brownies instead of broccoli).

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This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.