SUGAR & WHAT IT DOES TO THE BODY
You have most probably heard the latest on how bad sugar is for us and I strongly agree! The average person consumes a large amount of sugar on a daily basis and it is contributing to many health problems.
We all know that too much sugar can lead to diabetes but it also has many other detrimental affects on the body. Excess sugar causes the body to deplete B vitamins which are important for many functions such as, energy metabolism, making red blood cells, carrying oxygen around the body, produce hormones and to maintain healthy skin and nerves. It will weaken the immune system making you more prone to sickness. It deplete’s the body of minerals such as calcium and magnesium needed for healthy bones and teeth. An excess intake of sugar can cause an increase of triglycerides in the blood which can lead to disease and increase fat, this is why so many are putting on weight even though they are eating ‘low fat products’ it’s not the fat that is the problem it’s all of the sugar that is replaced in these products that have had their fat stripped from them.
It is so hard to avoid sugar these days, have a look at the label on packaged food, I bet sugar is there on almost every single one! It’s in biscuits, chips, frozen food, sauces, dressings and even muesli bars. All the more reason to bake your own snacks and meals and eat whole foods!
But how much sugar a day is a safe amount you ask? (before I go on the sugar in milk does not count towards your daily consumption but the sugar from fruit does, it’s mainly fructose which has the same affect on the body as other sweeteners in over consumption). The body can handle a small amount each day. Women can have no more than 6 teaspoons, or 30 grams a day. For men it’s 9 teaspoons, 45 grams and for children it’s just 3 teaspoons, 15 grams. Try to get your sugar from fruit as it comes with nutrients and fibre, 2-3 servings will be your total sugar consumption for the day. If you do want to have a sweetener, stick with raw honey, coconut nectar or B grade maple syrup. If these are not heated, they also provide nutrients. Dark chocolate is a good choice if you feel like something sweet, but stick with at least 80%, the darker the better because the less sugar it contains. Do try to limit these as much as possible and whole fruit is always the best choice when it comes to consuming sugar. Remember, if you do consume a sweetener then you need to take the total sugar consumption into account and make a swap for this with your fruit servings.
To give you a couple of examples on how much sugar is in products a can of soft drink has 39 grams, one tim tam biscuit has 9 grams, 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce has 10 grams, a hot chocolate has 20 grams, 100 grams of low-fat vanilla yoghurt has 20 grams and a glass of orange juice has 20 grams. Fruit contains sugar however it also contains fibre which allows the sugar to be easily digested and used by the body. That’s why it is important to eat the whole fruit (apart from the skin on fruits such as watermelon, oranges melons) and not just the juice.
So as you can see, sugar is and if it is not already, it should be your enemy! Start to decrease your daily intake now by slowly cutting back on it. I takes 6 weeks for the body to adapt to a change in diet and over this time you will become less reliant on wanting so much sugar and soon enough the cravings will go away. I am not saying to never eat sugar again, you have to live your life and treat yourself occasionally. It is just good to be aware of the harmful effects an excess amount of sugar has on your body!