Sugar is delicious.
From that creamy red velvet cake you relish to the pack of biscuits you snack on or even the French Vanilla + chocolate chip ice cream that you indulge in occasionally, sweet things are delightful.
The dangers of eating too much sugar is widely known but it is not taken as seriously as it should because the majority of us still consume way more than the recommended intake. An adult man should eat no more than nine teaspoons of sugar a day; six teaspoons for adult women – but the average adult eats around 22 teaspoons of sugar daily! This is not too surprising when we know that a bottle of soft drink may contain up to 12 teaspoons of sugar. Just one bottle!
Think about that as you drink your next one.
Another reason we over consume sugar is because it is so well hidden in our diet. There are up to 56 other names for sugar including: High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Agave Nectar, Maltose, Barley Malt, Sucrose and Molasses that food manufacturers use. Just to avoid saying ‘sugar’.
Not so ‘healthy eating’ after all, abi?Now here are a few things to think about as you savour that glazed donut:
- Sugar increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Even small amounts of processed sugar can cause dark circles, wrinkles, dehydrate your skin and fast track the aging process
- Sugar increases stress: When stressed, our adrenal glands make more of a hormone called cortisol. Now cortisol also manages your blood sugar so when blood sugar levels change too fast, your adrenal glands release cortisol to bring it back up again. Stress.
- Sugar can cause considerable damage to the pancreas and affect fertility in men and women
- Sugar weakens the immune system: As sugar increases in the body, it provides ample food for yeast and other bacteria to build up and cause infections
- Want healthy teeth without pain or sensitivity? Avoid sugar and tooth decay
No need to get scared, here are a few ways to ensure you are not over consuming this ’sweet poison’:
- Drink your coffee or cocoa drink without added sugar as they already come with sugar
- Sweeten plain yogurt with fruits instead of buying flavoured, sugar-loaded yogurt
- Eat whole fruits instead of fruit smoothies that may have added sugars
- Avoid canned foods that are packed in syrup or have sugar in them
- Use olive oil and vinegar in place of sweet salad dressings like honey mustard
- Replace your favourite soft drink with fruity water or herbal or fruit teas
- Swap biscuits for oat biscuits or power bars which also provide fibre
- Want to eat chocolate, aim for those with at least 60% cocoa content – the higher the cocoa content, the lower the sugar content
Do you have any more tips on reducing sugar in diets? Please tell us in the comments!
*Written by Ameze Obaseki