Would you know how much sugar you consume each day?
You may be surprised and shocked at the sugar level contained in processed food which is sitting on our supermarket shelves.
Do you know that in Australia the average daily sugar intake is 40 teaspoons?
Try sitting down and eating 40 teaspoons of sugar and see how you feel.
There has been a lot written about ‘low fat’, ‘gluten free’ and ‘low cholesterol’ that we think we have our diets under control.
Well, unfortunately, we need to think again.
Research suggests that added sugar is the main source of sugar in our diets. All sugar that is added to our food is classified as ‘free sugars’ and are not necessary for a balanced diet. They are easy to eat in excess, for example, you may drink a can of soft drink but you would not eat four apples in one sitting.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) strongly recommends we reduce our daily intake of free sugars to 5% of our total calorie intake (about 7 teaspoons per day).
Australia has 6 million people suffering from Fatty Liver Disease and Type 2 diabetes is increasing, not to mention the increasing number of people including children who are obese.
That Sugar Film
A couple of years ago, our Personal Trainer lent us a copy of a movie, ‘That Sugar Film’ and I felt shocked as I watched it and determined to make some changes and spread the word. Basically, the movie is about a guy who normally lives a sugar free diet but replaces ‘healthy’ low fat food with a high sugar content for two months. His aim was to see the affect it would have on his body and mental abilities.
After three weeks he had put on weight, was feeling lethargic and ‘on edge’. This was a very risky experiment as he started to develop ‘fatty liver’ disease within 3 weeks.
Watching the movie made me sit back and take a look at my diet and all the ‘hidden’ sugars I was consuming without realizing it, even though I thought we had a well balanced diet.
What can we do to reduce sugar?
We can’t omit sugar from our diet, our cells and especially the brain requires glucose (sugar) to function and provide energy. It is the type of sugar we consume that we need to look at. Glucose is usually found in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, potatoes, legumes and vegetables.
I’m a great believer in everything in moderation, and a treat occasionally is okay. However, if your blood tests are showing high levels of sugar you could be on the path to Type 2 Diabetes. If you want to lose weight or are serious about getting healthy you need to cut back on sugar.
5 Quick & Easy Ways to Reduce Your Sugar Intake
1. Cut out Fizzy Drinks, Iced Tea and Sports Drinks
Removing all soft drinks/soda pop from our diet is a quick way to reduce sugar. Can you believe that some people give their children soft drinks like cola, lemonade etc in their bottles? I was surprised to see that Iced Tea and some Sports Drinks contained high levels of sugar as these are usually promoted as healthier substitutes.
Try drinking water as an alternative and flavor it with lemon juice, or drink a herbal tea
Switch from soda to water to reduce your sugar intake
2. Eat Fruit rather than drink fruit juice
Choose fresh fruit rather than dried or fruit juices. Fresh fruit has fibre which makes us feel full sooner. Fruit juices and dried fruits contain concentrated levels of sugar. Again a surprise that what we think is healthy may not be so good for us. 400ml of apple juice contains 10 teaspoons of sugar!
Eat Whole Fruit rather than Fruit Juice to reduce sugar intake
3. Replace cakes and biscuits with healthier choices
This is obvious as most baking contains large amounts of sugar. Try to be creative with your snacks. Make some homemade hummus and serve with celery and carrot sticks.
Replace cakes & biscuits with healthier food choices to reduce sugar intake
4. Replace Highly Processed Foods with Fresh
Fresh is best so try to replace your processed foods with fresh food. Become creative with your cooking and look at the countless number of recipes on the internet which will help you to cut down on the added sugar which is found in processed foods.
Companies add sugar because they know people like the taste. They have discovered the ‘Bliss Point’ which is just enough sweetness – not too much – not too less – just right.
Replace highly processed foods with fresh food to reduce sugar intake
5. Learn some Sugar Swaps
- A serving of ‘low fat’ yoghurt contains 11 teaspoons of sugar! Try replacing this with natural yoghurt and adding fresh fruit.
- Replace breakfast cereals with oats
- Beat cravings by eating more protein and good ‘fats’
- Plan you snacks – Prepare you snacks in advance so you won’t be tempted to reach for the cake.
If we want to get healthy we need to be aware and informed
Read food labels
Labels on food such as ‘low fat’ or ‘99% fat free’ may not be all that healthy. Learn to read the labels to see exactly what the food contains. A food product label might be claim to be low in fat, but it may also be high in sugar or salt.
Food manufacturers don’t have to say how much sugar is added but give a figure for the total sugars.
Read more about food labels and sugar HERE
Are you ready to make some healthier changes in your diet? You only have one body – look after it.
I would highly recommend you watching ‘That Sugar Film’ as it provides a startling and sobering view of the eating habits of many people and what we can do to make changes for better health.