Sugar it’s everywhere at the minute and we aren’t just talking about the sprinkle on your breakfast cereal this morning or the hidden sugar in your salad dressing for lunch; no we are talking about the newspapers, social media, concerned parents’, the health conscious and the medical profession. It’s all everyone is talking about, long gone are the days where it was just your teeth’s nemesis.
Sugar is the hot health topic of the moment, there have been various health concerns around consuming too much sugar for years. Some are obvious like tooth decay and diabetes. But what about the growing evidence that sugar is a secret contributor to-
- the obesity epidemic
- heart disease
- fatty liver disease
- bad mood swings
There is now also suspicion that it can cause cancer, can suppress the immune system for 5 hours after consuming, could cause depression and it has been linked to increased candida albican bacteria, which can cause all manner of problems.
Sugar, how much is too much?
This is difficult to say but the recommendation is that you should only account for around 10% of your daily calories towards your sugar allowance. Looking over a few different articles and medical publications show that ideally 6-12 teaspoons daily. At the moment it is reported that on average a person currently consumes 22 teaspoons daily with some reports stating the average is up to 42 teaspoons daily!
Do you consider yourself to be living a healthy lifestyle?
The danger with our modern lifestyle is that even those that consider themselves health conscious are subjected not just to hidden sugars but there has been a general increase in sugar being bred into our fruit’s. Fruit’s sugar content has risen by up to 50 per cent over the last decade. New breeds of apple arriving on the shelves of British supermarkets which have been cross-bred to give a sweeter taste, mean that an apple can now contain around 4 teaspoons of sugar.
Here’s a list we found in a recent news article on added sugar in some everyday foods-
- Innocent Pure Fruit Smoothie Strawberries & Bananas (250ml): 7tsp
- Sharwood’s Sweet & Sour Chicken With Rice (375g): 6tsp
- Innocent Caribbean Veg Pot (380g): 6tsp
- Tesco Finest Moroccan Couscous (132g): 5tsp
- YeoValley Farm 0% Fat Vanilla Yoghurt (150g): 5tsp
- Sainsbury’s Chicken Tikka With Rice (500g): 5tsp
- Tesco Rack Of Ribs (158g): 4tsp
- Ski Smooth Strawberry & Raspberry Yogurt (120g): 4tsp
- Lloyd Grossman’s Tikka Masala Curry Sauce (175g): 4tsp
- Asda Hunters Chicken (190g): 4tsp
- Glaceau Vitamin Water, Defence (500ml): 4tsp
- Heinz Classic Tomato Soup (300g): 4tsp
- Blue Dragon Hoi Sin & Garlic Sauce (60g): 4tsp
- Ragu Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce (200g): 3tsp
- Sainsbury’s Classic Beef Stew (400g): 3tsp
- Burger King Steakhouse Burger: 3tsp
- Tesco Spaghetti And Meatballs (450g): 3tsp
- Tesco Ken Hom’s Aromatic Duck And Pancakes (115g): 3tsp
- Prince’s Pineapple Chunks (100g): 3tsp
- Branston’s Baked Beans (205g): 3tsp
- Kellogg’s Special K (30g): 3tsp
- Burger King Whopper: 3tsp
- Sainsbury’s Be Good To Yourself Spinach And Ricotta Cannelloni (400g): 3tsp
- Subway Meatball Marina Sub (300g): 3tsp
- Muller Vitality Multifruit Low Fat Yogurt Drink (100g): 3tsp
- Weight Watchers Sausages In Gravy (400g): 3tsp
- Sainsbury’s Be Good To Yourself Chilli Con Carne (400g): 2tsp
- Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Crunchy Oat Granola Cinnamon Bars (40g): 2tsp
- Tesco Beef Lasagne (450g): 2tsp
- All Bran Breakfast Biscuits (40g): 2tsp
- Pret A Manger Deluxe Sushi (232g): 2tsp
- Batchelors Tomato Cup A Soup (250g): 2tsp
- New Covent Garden Skinny Goan Spiced Chicken and Lentil Soup (300g): 2tsp
- Pret A Manger Teriyaki Salmon Salad (238g): 2tsp
- Asda Chosen by Kids Chicken & Gravy Pie (300g): 2tsp
- Dolmio Extra Spicy Bolognese Sauce (125g): 2tsp
- Heinz Spaghetti Hoops (200g): 2tsp
- Asda Chicken And Prawn Paella (400g): 2tsp
- McDonald’s Big Mac 2tsp
- Pot Noodle Curry King Pot (114g): 2tsp
- Shredded Wheat (45g): 1.5tsp
- McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish: 1.5tsp
- Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Coleslaw (100g): 1.5tsp
- Pret A Manger Beech Smoked BLT Sandwich (229g): 1.5tsp
- Tesco Finest Macaroni Cheese (400g): 1.5tsp
- McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Salad: 1.5tsp
- Fray Bentos Meatballs In Tomato Sauce (190g): 1tsp
- Heinz Tomato Ketchup (15ml): 1tsp
- Heinz Salad Cream (15ml): 0.7tsp
See how easy it could be to go over the daily guidelines.
Why do the manufacturers add all of this sugar?
Sugar contains no nutritional value but generally people prefer a sweeter taste. So it’s thought that if the product tastes sweeter then the consumer is more likely to like and choose that particular product. There is also the school of thought that sugar is addictive especially when different forms of sugar are mixed together, but this hasn’t been proved as yet.
The simplest thing we can do to take action on reducing the amount of sugar we consume is easy- read the label. Try to avoid any items that are over 10% of your RDA. When possible look at making your meal’s from scratch i.e. making a bolognese sauce from fresh tomatoes, herbs and spices and not just buying a jar of sauce. Avoid the obvious culprits such as sugary breakfast cereals, fruit juices, chocolate, cookies and doughnuts.
Keep a look out for the various names sugar can come under and avoid them-
- Brown sugar
- Cane crystals
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Crystalline fructose
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt syrup
If sugar must be used then instead try and opt for a sweetner such as xylitol or stevia.
There are numerous books on cutting down/quitting sugar aswell as a nunber of resources on line including NHS change for life website-
So look at reducing the amount sugar you consume if you want to be healthier and keep a look out for future blogs as we have more articles coming up related to sugar, sugar and your health and alternative snacks to sugary ones.
We also have a popular section on pinterest for healthier recipes and alternatives