In a new reminder that Americans’ health habits have slipped, the auto safety industry now needs bigger crash test dummies to reflect U.S. obesity rates.

The sugar industry deserves some of the blame. Among many scientific findings, sugary drinks are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic, and sugar-filled soda ages you just like smoking does.  No wonder New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio is continuing the work of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg by exploring ways to regulate the size of large sugary drinks.  For all their differences, the two mayors agree on the need for common-sense measures to get our sugar addiction under control.

No surprise: sugar also can hurt your business performance.   In an HBR blog, psychologist Ron Friedman reports on research that shows the relationship between food consumption and cognitive performance: basically, people who eat more produce are happier, more engaged and more creative.   He also suggests an action plan for healthy eating in the office.  Maybe a few simple changes in diet can help us find that extra competitive edge we’re all seeking.

It’s worked in my life.  I’ve been sugar-free for a year now-not easy!-and the energy I’ve gained has helped me become a better CEO, wife, mother, daughter and volunteer.  I’m convinced that, if you want to maximize your talent, you need to do more to support your health and less to support the sugar industry.  

I’m glad that the government is exploring solutions to help us, like the proposed requirement to have added sugars listed on food labels, and that employers are spending more on wellness with a growing focus on food.  But we also need to step up as individuals. So, when the holiday feeding frenzy surrounds you with sugar, try to remember that taking care of your health can be the sweetest gift of all to yourself, your family and your career.

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