Why are We Turning into a Nation of Tellytubbies?
Move over Salt - Sugar is the new silent killer!!! Shockingly the average Briton consumes 238 teaspoons of sugar each week - often without knowing it. We all know sugar is found in fizzy foods and cakes but health experts believe it's the sugar, rather than our fat consumption that is leading to this overweight epidemic. Obesity rates are rising with 26% of Britons being obese and half of us are overweight.
Costs caused by obesity are now estimated to be £5.1billion per year. Obesity is associated with cardiovascular risk and with cancer, disability during old age, decreased life expectancy and serious chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and hypertension.
However, even those of us without a sweet tooth may be eating more than we realise because many everyday processed foods from ketchup and bread to pasta sauce and soups contain sugar. We need some sugar in our diets to supply instant energy to fuel our muscles and keep our brains active. But many processed foods have added sugar which supplies energy in the form of calories - and very little else.
Sugar comes in two forms - naturally occurring like lactose in milk and added sugar, (sucrose) as well as concentrated sources like fruit juice.
Recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) state that only 5% of your daily calorie intake should consist of added, or 'free' sugars, approximately five-six teaspoons (25g) for women and seven-eight teaspoons (35g) for men.
Look at the nutrition panel on food labelling which include both natural and added sugars; less than 5g per 100g is low, more than 15g per 100g is high. View the ingredients list too for anything ending in 'ose' (fructose, lactose, maltose glucose, sucrose), as they are all forms of sugar, as is honey, agave, molasses and syrups, like corn and rice syrup. The higher up the ingredients list means the more sugar is contained within the food.
Reduce the sugar you add to hot drinks, maybe adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to cappuccino or hot chocolate, cinnamon helps stabilise blood sugar levels and adds flavour without the sweetness. Avoid low-fat 'diet' foods which tend to be surprisingly high in sugars.
Be aware of 'sugar-free' foods they often contain synthetic sweeteners like sucralose, saccharin and aspartame. Balance your carbohydrate intake with lean protein such as fish, chicken and turkey as they slow stomach emptying which helps manage cravings.
Swap your white bread, rice and pasta for wholegrain versions like oats, granary and wholemeal breads, brown rice and pasta. Reduce the sugar in recipes and add spices instead of sugar to boost flavour and taste.
Dilute your fruit juice and keep sweet soft drinks and alcohol for the weekends. Enjoy herbal teas or water with slices of citrus fruits. For an instant boost have a piece of whole fruit with a handful of nuts or a small tub of plain yogurt. Both contain protein which helps balance blood sugar and your energy levels.
Sugar and alcohol have similar toxic liver effects on the body and sugar may sap your brain power plus sugar may be linked to cancer production and may affect cancer survival. cream cake anyone?