According to Public Health England, we eat over two million tonnes of sugar every year, but we’re not always aware that we’re having it.
With many savoury foods such as wholemeal bread and low-fat yoghurt containing sugar, some of us could be having way more than we think. With the New Year underway, perhaps it’s time to reassess your diet and limit your own sugar intake?
Why is too much sugar bad for us?
One of the most obvious reasons why too much sugar is bad for our health is that it tends to be high in calories but not all that filling.
That makes it easy to over-consume and then the excess calories can cause you to gain weight. But it’s not just empty calories that are the problem.
Sugar supresses the immune system – when you get a big dose of it, you temporarily prevent your immune system’s ability to respond to challenges.
The effect lasts for several hours, so if you eat sweets several times a day, your immune system will be perpetually operating at a disadvantage.
Sugar also promotes inflammation. Eating foods high in sugar can fuel excessive, inappropriate inflammation that serves no useful purpose and actually promotes aging and disease.
It also supresses the release of the human growth hormone – if you want to slow down the aging process, you definitely want to do more to avoid foods that are high in sugar.
Influxes of sugar into the system will also raise insulin levels. Over time, and if you eat too much, it takes more and more insulin to ensure your body cleanses itself of sugar from your blood and into your cells.
Eventually your pancreas may just stop responding altogether. Hello diabetes.
And – of course – too much sugar is bad for our teeth and can lead to cavities and other tooth and gum related disorders.
“If there’s one thing I’d strongly encourage parents to do, it’s to swap sugary drinks out of their kids’ diets for either a low-sugar drink or water or low-fat milk, which would be a really excellent choice.”
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England
How much sugar should you consume?
Added sugars shouldn’t make up more than 5% of your calorie intake. This equates to approximately 30g of sugar per day for those aged 11 and over.
Fruit juice and honey can also count as added sugars, as they are sometimes added to foods to make them sweeter. Whilst fruit juice is a healthy choice, the sugars can damage your teeth so it’s best to drink it alongside a meal and have no more than one serving a day (150ml).
I Quit Sugar Simplicious
The Works at PE1 is a great source of healthy cookbooks, diet planners and kitchen gadgets to help you limit your sugar intake, without limiting enjoyment to your taste buds! One example is “I Quit Sugar Simplicious” by Sarah Wilson. Currently only £6 (reduced from £20)!
Sarah Wilson, originally taught the world how to quit sugar in eight weeks, then how to quit sugar for life, incorporating mindful, sustainable, whole food practices. Now with “I Quit Sugar: Simplicious” she strips back to the essentials, simply and deliciously.
All three hundred and six recipes in the book – from guilt-free sweet treats to one-pot wonders and abundance bowls brimming with nutrients – expand our knowledge of age-old kitchen processes and tend to our profound need to be creative with food.
Drawing on the latest nutrition research and kitchen hacks, this is the ultimate cooking guide for those who want sugar out of their life and are ready to embrace the life-affirming, health-giving, planet saving simpliciousness of real food.
Get your copy of Sarah’s book from The Works at PE1, along with others to help you become a healthier and happier new you this New Year!