Blog Post - News, Views and Tips
After Christmas and the New Year celebrations, many people feel bloated and sluggish. The answer for some is to go on a diet or cut out alcohol for January, but I suggest that a popular one should be to cut down on your sugar intake 6 days a week.
Reducing your sugar intake is one of the best things you can do for your body as there many problems associated with eating too much of it. Some include well known things like causing tooth decay, promoting obesity, and leading to the development of diabetes and certain cancers. Not quite so well known are sugar’s nasty way of chewing up skin collagen (leading to rapid ageing of the skin) and its internal effect of causing inflammation within the body. In fact, it’s now known that Centenarians (those aged 100+) have the lowest levels of inflammation in their bodies.
Before I studied nutrition I was unaware of all the hidden sugars I was eating. What I saw and heard really opened my eyes, so I want to share with you just how easy it is to over consume sugars throughout the day, without ever really realising it!
Sugar gives you ’empty calories’ – which means calories without any nutrients. No vitamins, only the minutest of trace minerals (so little it’s hardly worth mentioning), no fibre and no protein. In Britain, on average we buy almost a pound of packet sugar per person per week, and we actually eat twice as much as that when you count all the sugars added to processed foods such as sweets, soft drinks, biscuits and cakes.
As a general guide Adults should be consuming no more than 90 grams of sugar each day. If you are uncertain of quite how much 90 grams really is, then take a look at the picture of the glass of orange juice and sugar. This 240ml serving of Tropicana Pure Orange Juice contains the fructose equivalent of the same amount of sugar in my hand, which is a whopping 25 grams of sugar, or 5-6 full teaspoons!!! Multiplying that up, means that just 3 and a half glasses of this orange juice provides your whole recommended daily allowance. Bear in mind too that this brand of orange juice is pure juice, not from concentrate and with no added sugar.
Cutting back on your sugar intake is the easiest way to reduce your calories without losing any nutrients, and what you can do is take control and learn to read the food labels on the back of packaging. There are lots of foods and drinks with hidden sugars, so watch out for words like sucrose, glucose, dextrose, fructose and maltose on the ingredients list of food packets, in fact anything ending with ‘ose’ as these are all types of sugar. As an extra guide for you, try to remember to look at the per 100g column of the nutritional information on a food or drink item, and note where it says ‘of which sugars’ under the carbohydrates bit. Low sugar is anything under 5g per 100g, high sugar is anything over 15g per 100g, and anything in between is medium.
Hopefully this helps you understand a little better how sugar gets hidden in the food and drink we eat, and if weight or fat loss is your aim, then it will help you dump the calories quicker and easier. If simply living healthier and longer also feels like an attractive proposition, then maintaining a sugar reduction over the course of your life may well help you live past that magic 100 number, and certainly do it in much better shape.