Teenagers on average are consuming around 40 teaspoons of sugar every day…that’s insane when we should be having between 6 and 8 ! As western society continues to battle obesity with fad diets, it’s interesting to stop and take a look on what may be the real cause not only behind weight gain but also to what may be causing so many diseases.
Is sugar a bittersweet pill that’s quietly killing us? What’s the long term effect of sugar on us? Research now links Mental Health issues, heart disease and of course obesity to Sugar and the challenge is that our bodies are programmed to crave sugar! In whatever form, Sugar triggers a release of ‘serotonin’ in our systems, which is the ‘feel good’ hormone.
Over the years we have seen low carb diets, fasting, high protein diets and countless other fads trying to get address weight gain. History will show us that all these fads gave never really addressed the issue but rather wrongly painted essential food groups as ‘evil’.
In balance, our bodies need all food groups.There is one constant since Western Society began a trend of steady weight gain (and hasn’t slowed down or stopped) and that is the use of sugar. Since the 1950’s when breakfast cereals and soft drinks became common place in daily diets, our weight problem has grown steadily as has the use of sugar in processed food products. See the connection?
Sure, sodium and saturated fats are still the big causes of heart disease but sugar is coming a close 3rd. Its no easy task to avoid sugar as it’s hidden in so many products including products that may appear healthy (ie juices, bread, smoothies, flavored yoghurts and almost ALL low fat labeled foods).
Usually, low fat = high sugar as that’s how the ‘flavor’ is substituted and the reality is, the fat is probably better for you in small doses as our body needs fats as an essential food group (contrary to what marketers will tell you).
Not all sugar is bad. We need to consume sugar through eating fruit but avoid processed, refined sugars found in most processed foods. It’s only a matter of time until sugar and carbohydrates are generally known to be ‘addictive’ says dietitian, Dr Lapsys. There are many theories circulating now that the food industry is intentionally adding sugar to products, as they KNOW it’s addictive. Shouldn’t’ something be done to educate people of the dangers and make these companies accountable? Perhaps a percentage of their sales could go in to food education programmes for parents and children whilst also adding clear warnings on product labels: DANGER: SUGAR IS ADDICTIVE AND CAUSES OBESITY AND HEART DISEASE.
At the start of this century no one thought for a minute that cigarette smoking was harmful. Now perhaps it’s time we learnt about sugar.
Keep a look out for bees, honey, flowers, words like ‘nature’ or ‘natural’. These are not always healthy products but instead, clever marketing tricks to entice you in to thinking they are !
So, to simply reduce your sugar intake, try to focus on ‘farm to plate’ type foods by asking, “how much human intervention has this product had”? The less intervention the healthier it is (ie fruit, vegetables, fish, meat etc). Pretty much anything in a can or packet will have had sugars and sweeteners added to get you hooked!
FED UP is a new film by Stephanie Soechtigh who explores the evils of sugar and reveals the almost everything we have been told about food and exercise in the last 30 years is wrong !
By: Antony Hampel