The truth about sugar
What's wrong with sugar?
Evidence from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that most adults and children eat more sugar than is recommended as part of a healthy balanced diet. Sugar delivers “empty calories” — calories unaccompanied by fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Eating foods that contain added sugar is linked to weight gain and increases the risk of dying of heart disease. Being overweight can also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Sugary foods and drinks can also cause tooth decay, especially if you eat them between meals. The longer the sugary food is in contact with the teeth, the more damage it can cause (NHS choices 2015, Corliss 2014).
Top sources of added sugar:
- Sugar, preserves and confectionary (chocolate spread - 57.1g of total sugar per 100g, plain chocolate - 62.6g/100g, fruit pastilles - 59.3g/100g).
- Non-alcoholic drinks (cola - 10.9g/100g, squash cordials - 24.6g/100g, sweetened fruit juice - 9.8g/100g).
- Biscuits, buns, cakes (iced cakes - 54g/100g, chocolate-coated biscuits - 45.8g/100g, frosted corn flakes - 37g/100g).
- Alcoholic drinks (a standard glass of wine - 175ml, 12% ABV, 126kcal - can contain as many calories as a piece of chocolate).
- Dairy products (fruit yoghurt - 16.6g/100g, fruit fromage frais - 13.3g/100g).
- Savoury food (tomato ketchup - 27.5g/100g, stir in sweet and sour sauce - 20.2g/100g, salad cream - 16.7g/100g).
(NHS Choices 2016)
Examples of sugars on food labels
There are lots of different ways added sugar can be listed on ingredients labels such as:
agave syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, golden syrup, honey, lactose, maple syrup, malt, maltose, maltitol, mannitol, molasses, polydextrose, sorbitol, sucrose, xylitol (Gillespie, 2013).
How to break the sugar addiction?
- Have the right attitude - do not treat this as an exercise in deprivation. You are ridding yourself of a dangerous toxin.
- Eliminate habits associated with eating sugar - believe it or not, it is possible to enjoy a movie without a litre of soft drink for company.
- Eliminate sugar from your food supply - throw out all the addictive sugary foods from your fridge and cupboards.
- Withdraw from sugar - intentionally and purposefully eat the last mouthful of sugar.
- Re-stock and get ready for the rest of your life - your home needs to be a sugar-free oasis for you and your family.
Corliss, J. / Harvard Health Publications. Harvard Medical School (2014). Eating too much added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease. Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021 (accessed: 26 October 2016).
Gillespie, D. (2010). The Sweet Poison Quit Plan. How to Kick the Sugar Habit and Lose Weight. London: Penguin Books. p.69.
NHS Choices (2015). The facts about sugar. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/sugars.aspx (accessed: 26 October 2016).
NHS Choices (2016). Top sources of added sugar in our diet. Available at: http://http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Top-sources-of-added-sugar-in-our-diet.aspx (accessed: 26 October 2016).
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About Karolina Lukaszewicz
Karolina Lukaszewicz is a qualified nutritional therapist mBANT rCNHC, trained in naturopathic nutrition at the prestigious College of Naturopathic Medicine in London. She founded Get Eat Right Nutritional Therapy, offering online nutrition advice via FaceTime or Skype, and face to face consultations at BodyMatters Clinic - NW3 London.