• Milda

The sugar trail

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

Struggling to get out of bed every morning? Feeling the 4pm afternoon slump? Craving sugary snacks? Time to look into your sugar intake, without even suspecting, you might be consuming 3x more sugar than recommended!

Government guidelines for sugar intake decreased dramatically in the past 3 years, now equating to approximately 25g for women and 37.5g for men daily. As a reference, a can of Coke has 39g and a glass of shop- bought orange juice has 22-30g of sugar, meaning that the majority of the population reach daily sugar intake by the end of breakfast.

Newest research shows, that excess sugar intake, not fat (as previously thought) is fundamentally responsible for countless health concerns, including diabetes type 2, tooth decay and fatty liver disease. In a daily setting sugar causes imbalances in your body that show up as mood swings, fatigue, insomnia, indigestion and food cravings.

You might not eat cake and biscuits every day, but hidden sugars may still find their way to your diet. Here are a few simple steps I like to suggest to clients in my practice with low energy to reduce daily sugar intake and focus on the most overlooked areas of diet:

Watch-out for “diet” products

Most supermarkets now stock fat-free, sugar-free and calorie-free alternatives as a big part of the diet industry. The truth is that the products are stripped of naturally occurring nutrition and fats and substituted by sugars or artificial sweeteners to give it taste and substance. Be wary as artificial sweeteners are chemicals, that present other risks to our health.

Read the label

Be smart about reading the labels, as there are at least 60 different names for hidden sugars and it is not uncommon to find sugars labelled as maltose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup or barley malt.

Mindful snacking

Many of us know better than to snack on cake and biscuits, but can alternatives perceived as ‘healthy’ be just as harmful?

Many nut or protein bars are loaded with sugars to improve taste. ‘Raw food’ alternatives use dates and dried fruit, which contain high amounts of natural sugars and should be consumed sensibly. Note that dried fruits are often covered in sugars and syrup.

How about fruit?

Although fruit contains only naturally occurring sugars, majority of the population tends to eat fruit in excess. British Association for Nutritional Therapy (BANT) recently clarified government guidelines for daily fruit and vegetable consumption, as it was misleading to think that up to 5 portions of fruit per day was part of a healthy diet.

Aim for 5 daily portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruit daily for a healthy balanced diet, limiting consumption of fruits that are high in sugars, such as bananas and grapes, to every other day.

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