Oh Sugar! – Part 2
In our previous post we spoke of sugar and the forms it takes, natural and added sugars and what each does to the human body. That’s it? Of course not! There’s more. How can you be aware of the sugar you consume and how do you control your intake of this sweet thing.
Sugar is a prime source of energy, but let’s face it.; it’s a carbohydrate. When you eat a slice of rich cake, or chug down a fizzy drink, the sugar in it is quickly broken down and you receive instant gratification because of the sugar rush into your bloodstream. But, it doesn’t last. So you reach for the next piece of cake or the next can of fizzy drink, and the next, and the next…. The calories pile up and get stacked as body fat, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease, messing up your skeletal system and spelling trouble for diabetics.
Studies suggest that sugar, rather than fats, is the root cause of obesity. So concerned are we about the obesity factor, that governments are talking about a Sugar Tax. In fact, Mexico has already introduced one since January 2014 when it realised that 70% of Mexicans are obese or overweight.
So what’s the bottomline?
A slice of fruitcake contains 23 grams of sucrose, a breakfast bar has 12 grams and a regular chocolate chip cookie, 1 gram. White sugar or table sugar is that many empty calories.
Yep, diabetics and weight-watchers must be careful about the amount of sucrose they consume.
The WHO recommends that your intake of added sugars should be limited to 5% of your daily calorie consumption. This means 25 g or 5 teaspoons for women, and 35 g or 7 teaspoons for men. Given that one can of fizzy drink contains about 45 g or 9 teaspoons of added sugar, it is very easy to exceed the recommended intake. Add to this the other foods we consume without being aware of the amount of sugar they contain…
Do you see what’s happening and what this means if you are insulin resistant, diabetic or overweight?
So what’s the solution?
- Watch out for foods containing refined carbohydrates and ‘empty’ calories that give you no nutrition
- Make it a habit to carefully read food labels so you are aware of the total calories, carbs, as well as the carbs from sugar in the food you are buying. This has to be done regardless of a product claiming to be sugar-free.
- Educate yourself about the food you eat. Even your grains and veggies contain small quantities of natural sugar, so you are not depriving your body of it
- Keep substitutes for sugary food and drink handy – a piece of fruit, a couple of raisins, a glass of low-fat milk
- Be conscious of what and how you eat. Mindless eating invariably leads to overeating
- Scrap the TV dinners and hurried snacks at the computer or in the car. You tend to eat less when eating at the dining table or with other people.
- Reach for a piece of fruit instead of a slice of cake when you are feeling snacky. Better yet, stock up on low-sugar fruit, keeping the sugar-rich ones as a treat.
- Train children young – give them tap water instead of juice or squash. Yes, concentrated fruit juices are high-sugar items
- Set an example for the youngsters around you by eating low-sugar, non-processed foods like whole grains, green and leafy vegetables, and fresh meat.
- Eat lower on the Glycemic Index
Eat healthy, keep well and have fun!