How bad is Sugar Really?

14 September 2016
Oral Care Melbourne

Our cells need sugar for energy, so our liking for the sweet stuff does make perfect sense. Unfortunately the amount of sugar consumed, and our ease of access has changed dramatically and over the centuries it has changed from being a luxury item to one regarded by many as a necessity.

On average, we consume around 100grams to 150grams of sugar each day and sugars can be found in numerous healthy fruits and vegetables. The sugars that are ‘hidden’ in processed foods are causing much greater concern. These are called free sugars and include glucose, fructose and monosaccharaides and disaccharides, as well as those naturally found in honey, fruit juice, syrups and fruit concentrates.

Recent guidelines issued by the World Health Organization recommend that everyone reduce their intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their daily energy consumption. This would mean eating roughly 50 grams of sugar each day. The WHO would like to see this level reduced even further to just 5% of daily intake, in order to provide greater health benefits, not to mention the beneficial effects on your teeth.

One of the problems with sugar is its low satiety value; in other words, drinking a can of sugar-laden fizzy drink just won’t fill you up, in spite of the calories consumed. In addition, sugar causes insulin levels to spike. Insulin tells the body when to store fat and blocks the hormone responsible for telling you when you are full. As a result there is an association between sugar consumption and Type II diabetes, a disease that is becoming increasingly prevalent in developed countries.

Cutting down on sugar can only be a good thing and if you read the food labels you’ll soon find out just where it is hiding.