”Action on Sugar” have begun a campaign to reduce the amount of sugar in ready prepared foods by 20 to 30 %. They propose to do this little by little so consumers don’t notice a difference. This is welcome news, provided that these sugars are not substituted for equally unhealthy alternatives such as Aspartame and other sweeteners.
Sugar ranges from naturally occurring sugars in fruits and whole foods to refined sugars added to processed foods for added flavour. These refined sugars are particularly unhealthy and you’d be amazed at some of the foods that contain sugar, it’s not just sweet products but many savoury and low fat products contain vast amounts of sugar. If you’re not the sort of person to read the ingredients of what you eat then you are almost certainly eating far more sugar than you think. Even if you do consciously read the ingredients these sugars can be cleverly worded so you are misguided s to how much sugar there is in particular products.
So why is sugar so bad?
Sugar is basically empty calories so it has no nutritional value what so ever, therefore after eating sugar your body will shortly become hungry again. When we eat nutritious foods we stay fuller for longer as our brains are aware of the nutrients we need and the nutrients we have ingested. Eating sugar releases dopamine which is addictive, so when we become hungry again we tend to crave sugar. This is how people become addicted to fast foods and junk foods, ending up in a vicious cycle of overeating foods which are damaging to health.
When too much sugar is consumed the quantity of fructose can overload the liver turning it into fat which can cause liver disease. The pancreas releases insulin which helps our body store and use glucose correctly and helps regulate cell growth, when we have high consumption of glucose the pancreas can become insulin resistant leading to all manner of health issues such as: obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
The bad bacteria in our mouths thrives on sugar which is why people who eat lots of sweets and foods containing sugar are more likely to suffer with tooth decay and or gum disease.
Some of the worst culprits for sugar content are: many yoghurts (including low fat), ketchup, coca cola and cereals. Also savoury items such as white bread have a high sugar content. Here is a table of which foods rate highest in sugar content: http://www.actiononsalt.org.uk
As with all these things we believe in moderation and in small amounts sugar eaten in a healthy balanced diet is unlikely to cause you harm. But it is clear how easy it can be to develop a problem without even realising it.
This article is curtesy of The Kingston Natural Health Centre.