How much sugar is actually good for you?

Sugar... everybody needs a little sweetness in their life, but how much sweetness is actually good for you?

According to the World Health Organisation, both adults and children should reduce the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake, which is roughly 50 grams of sugar per day.

Furthermore, the WHO highlighted that reducing sugar intake to 5%, equivalent to approximately 25 grams of sugar per day (6 teaspoons), would provide additional health benefits.

WHO defines Free sugars as 'all monosaccharides and disaccharide added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices''

It does NOT include sugars that are naturally present in fresh fruit and vegetables, plain milk & youghurt or unrefined carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholewheat pasta. To put you in perspective, one can of coke (355ml), contain 39 grams of sugar, this already puts you over the daily recommendation.

For example, a large drink at a fast food restaurant contain at least 500ml, so that mean that you are drinking over 60 grams of sugar or about 15 teaspoons of sugar!

What are the risks of consuming free sugars? (WHO)

  1. Increases the risk of dental caries (tooth decay).
  2. Excess calories - unhealthy weight gain (fat) - overweight and obesity.
  3. The fat around our vital organs can cause - Type 2 Diabetes, Heart disease and some cancers.

How can you reduce sugar intake?

  • Limit foods and drinks high in sugar

  • Eat more fruit and Vegetables

You may be asking yourself, “Aren’t fruits high in sugar?…Why are they ok to eat?”

Fruits contain large amounts of water, fibre and nutrients such as vitamins & minerals that are essential for your body. The water and fibre make the sugar digest slower in your body, which will help you feel fuller, and less hungry.Sugary drinks and snack make you want to eat more and do nothing to make you feel full

  • Read Labels and Records

    Always look at the nutrition label for the sugar content. Make sure that sugar is one of the least ingredients on the label. For example, most breakfast cereals contain up to 15grams of sugar per serving.

    Try and keep a record of your sugar intake, this will help you become more aware of the sugar you are consuming and will help you make informed choices in the future

    Reference: World Health Organisation - http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/149782/1/9789241549028_eng.pdf?ua=1, How much sugar is too much? - http://youcaneathealthytoo.com/how-much-sugar-is-too-much/

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