How Much is Too Much?


Contributing Writer
Jeffrey Barkstrom

At a talk I gave last night, I was asked “how much sugar is too much.” This is a common question I hear. It got me thinking of why people ask that question.

I always try to help people out with information on the subject. I believe in education and I find that the better educated someone is on a subject, the better choices they make.

So for sugar, the average American ate less than 2 ½ pounds of sugar per year 150 years ago. If you go back another 50 years, we consumed almost no sugar at all. Sugar takes a lot of energy to produce. It wasn’t until the industrial revolution that we could cheaply mass produce sugar. For the entire human history before that time, we ate sour foods.

Today, the average American eats about three pounds of sugar per week or about 150 pounds per year. The reasons for this over consumption of sugar are many. One reason is that sugar is added to more than 80% of processed foods, even to such things as frozen vegetables. Another reason is that studies have found sugar is as addicting as cocaine. When we have it, we temporarily feel better, but then feel worse overall and crave more.

The negative side effects of sugar are many. Sugar causes inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the common cause of many modern diseases. Studies have linked it to things as diverse as heart attacks, strokes, arthritis, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

So when I think back to that person asking me, “How much sugar is too much?” I know their body is already probably telling them “too much”.

Jeffrey Barkstrom has been helping people with health and weight loss issues for more than 12 years. He has spoken at colleges, businesses, non-profits, national conferences and on television about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. He currently practices at Barkstrom Acupuncture PC, Natural Health Improvement Center in Jamestown, NY. Learn more at or at