Sugar – the not so sweet facts

Social media and the press are certainly putting over the facts about sugar’s negative effects on our health, but is the nation taking any notice?

22 teaspoons per day is the average consumption in the US and we are not far behind with 19. A large proportion of the nation’s sugar consumption now comes from fizzy drinks. A certain popular cola manufacturer is obviously concerned with the bad press and is now producing an advert to convey what they are doing in the fight against obesity. They offer clear calorie labelling and low and zero calorie option drinks. The latter seem an attractive option, however there is growing evidence that sweeteners are linked to obesity and have other consequences on health.

Evidence is now accumulating linking sugar consumption directly to weight gain, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cancer. It can be shown to have far reaching effects on most functions in the body.

The World Health Organisation currently recommends no more than 10% of your calories should be consumed as sugar.

Here’s the sum:

10% of 2000 is 200 calories = 52g sugar = 13 teaspoons
(1gram sugar has 3.87 calories, avg. tsp=4g)

The American Heart Foundation recommends only 100 calories for an average woman should be consumed as sugar, therefore half the above amount.

Practically what can we do in our own diet?

First take a look at your consumption; it is present where you expect in cakes, biscuits and chocolate, but also where you don’t expect such as yoghurt, ready meals, juice drinks and fizzy drinks. Then try and eliminate or reduce it, for some of you this may be extremely hard and there many key biochemical reasons for this.

In my talk in September I will cover why sugar is addictive and why our bodies seem to conspire against us. As well as showing practical ways to help give it up.

I was extremely privileged to see Robert Lustig speak at a recent symposium ran by FAB (Food and Behaviour) research, very much promoting his recent publication Fat Chance, a must read. Speaking very much from first hand experience, he deals with many extreme cases of obesity and explains why it is not their fault, but an altered biochemistry. He also clearly points out that many people of normal weight are not metabolically healthy, fat fit is better than thin sick.

Finding a personal solution is what nutritional therapy is all about and if you can join me in September I can hopefully arm you with some facts that will put you on your way to being healthy.