You will often hear many conflicting facts about proteins, carbohydrates and fats, but one area that has not been misunderstood is SUGAR. By now, you should all know the answer to the question, How much sugar am I allowed in one day?
The answer is zero.
There is no recommended daily allowance for sugar. Most of you are probably saying right now, “Sure, no sugar”. I am not saying you cannot have sugar, but there is no such thing as a recommended allowance for sugar. Sugar is a refined product that is made by man and put into many items we eat every day.
Australians now spend about 23 percent of their grocery dollars on processed foods and sweets—nearly double what we spent 20 years ago. Though the Australian Heart Foundation recommends women limit their added sugar to just 100 calories per day (6 teaspoons) and men to 150 calories a day (9 teaspoons), the average Australian now, consciously or not, eats 28 teaspoons of added sugars a day, or more than 45 kilos of sugar per year. (ouch)
It doesn’t take a medical genius to surmise that putting so much sugar in our bodies might not be a direct path to a long healthy life. Most experts agree that we all eat far too much of it: rates of obesity have dramatically increased in Australia over the past 20 years, and studies have linked drinking large amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages to increased risk of obesity, especially in children.
We have been fooled by the word “sugar” thinking our bodies need sugar for survival. Our bodies need glucose for survival and it usually is found present in our bloodstream. Many of our foods,
such as fruits, vegetables and rice are converted into glucose. The body uses glucose for energy and it is metabolised to produce warmth. Unfortunately, many manufacturers have combined all carbohydrates on food labels into one category- whether refined or not.
Be aware of a product that has a total of 25 grams of carbohydrates and 20 grams of it are sugar. This product is mostly all sugar and is not a very healthy food choice. (anything in moderation is still a good philosophy).
Below are common words used to describe sugar in the ingredients on a food label:
• Lactose- sugar from milk. “Lactose intolerance” – caused by the sugar in the milk.
• Maltose – sugar from malt
• Fructose- sugar from fruit
• Dextrose- sugar from starch “corn sugar”
• Sucrose – refined sugar from sugar cane or beats
The refined product of sugar cane “sucrose” can be very addictive. The more our body has, the more it wants. If you limit your sugar intake, you will be surprised how you do not crave sugar like you used too.
According to the 1995 National Nutrition Survey, the top 5 sources of added sugar in the Australian diet are:
- Soft drinks, flavoured mineral waters, and electrolyte drinks
- Added (table) sugar, honey and syrups
- Cakes, buns, muffins etc.
- Frozen milk products, eg. ice-creams
- Chocolate and chocolate-based confectionary
The bottom line is that sugar can be very detrimental to your health. Many people have developed diabetes, cancer and skin problems due to long term overdoses of sugar. Due to many hours lapsing between meals and insulin levels dropping, your body begins to crave the nourishment, and usually sugar or “sucrose” is the outcome.
So next time you get a craving for one of the above – remember this article, drink a big glass of water and reach for some fruit or veggies!
Yours in health,