Honestly…Who doesn’t like sugar? Most of us are very fond of sweets, colourful drinks, cakes and cookies. And I am one of those fools who are addicted to Mr Sugar. However, we need to realise that this is a toxic relationship. Mr Sugar is dangerous murderer who silently harm our body… obesity, heart disease, depression, cancer, stress laden fatty liver… and the list goes on.
So the question is: Why do we still consume sugar? Well, simply because we are completely addicted to it. Mr Sugar is the third after alcohol and nicotine agent that quickly and drastically affect the metabolic processes in the body, creating havoc, contributing to a number of diseases, while making the body craving it more and more.
Where is Mr Sugar hiding? Everywhere! Yes, this sneaky little bastard is in almost everywhere these days. Besides the obvious ones like sweets, fizzy drinks and junk food, he can be found in some surprising places where you may not have expected to find him, such as: yogurt, granola bars, ketchup, ready-made soups and sauces, cereals, flavoured water, fruit juices, bread, milk alternatives like soy milk and so on.
How much is too much? No added sugar is actually needed. However, most of the people like sweet-tasting foods (guilty as charged) , so health authorities try to come up with some recommendations. Added sugars shouldn’t make up more than 5% of the energy (calorie intake) you get from food and drink each day. This is about 30g of sugar a day for those aged 11 and over.
How can we control consumption of sugar? First of all, read the nutritional information on food labels to see how much sugar the food contains. Look for the “Carbohydrates (of which sugars)” figure in the nutrition label to see how much sugar the product contains for every 100g:
- more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g is high
- 5g of total sugars or less per 100g is low
Unfortunately, working out how much sugar is in your food or drink can be confusing. Mr Sugar has 56 different names! Pretty tricky and pretty scary…
But it’s not all bad news 🙂 Mr Sugar is a carbohydrate found naturally in different foods such as lactose in milk or the fructose in fruit and honey. In fact, if you’re very active and exercise regularly some sugar in your diet helps supply ready energy to fuel your muscles and keep your brain active. The problem for the majority of us is that many of the processed foods we eat have added sugar which supplies energy in the form of calories, and very little else – so we end up consuming more than we need.
Why Miss Fructose from fruit and vegetables is much better for us? Simply because fruits have fibre, which helps you feel fuller for longer, as it slows down the absorption of the sugar in food. Fruits are also full of vitamins and antioxidants, for example strawberries and blackberries are two of the richest, most antioxidant-dense and vitamin-packed fruits available – and also are very low in fructose.
So now we know a bit more about Mr Sugar. Let’s try to do something about decreasing our overall sugar consumption without feeling deprivation or sheer frustration! That will be the focus of my next post. Stand by for more.