Feature

Sugar

After years of the media portraying the fat in our diet as the leading cause of the rise of obesity within the UK, recently we have been hearing more and more of the dangers of sugar in our diets.
Last week the World Health Organisation announced plans for our intake of sugar to contribute less than 10% towards our daily calorie intake, with the target being placed at 5%, half the current recommendation of 10%.  
This change in recommendation was brought about after the WHO reviewed scientific evidence of the health impact of sugar.
According to the NHS the average Briton consumes around 700 grams of sugar per week which equates to roughly 140 table spoons of sugar.
Sugar, like everything else in our diets contributes calories, and if the number of calories we eat is greater than the number of calories we burn through our daily activities we will put on weight.
As well as the potential negative health impacts that arise after weight is gained through excess sugar, such as diabetes and heart disease, studies have also shown that increased sugar intake may also increase the risk of tooth decay.  
Experts have found the incidence of tooth decay is lower in people whose sugar intake came to less than 10% of their overall energy intake, opposed to people who consumed more than 10% of their energy intake from sugar.
Although many experts are pushing towards securing the 5% target as the recommendation, many others have the opinion that 5% is unrealistic. Either way it is important we limit the amount of calories we consume from sugary foods and drinks which provide us with little nutritional value.  
Your intake of sugar may come from obvious things such as adding sugar to cereal or using it to sweeten tea, however many other sources of sugar are not as obvious.  
Things such as chocolates, biscuits and cakes contain a large amount of sugar whilst drinks such as cola and fruit juices may contain much more sugar than you thought.  
Sugar may even be hidden foods such as in ready meals so it is important to check food labels when buying these.
Sugar is often referred to on food labels as glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, molasses, hydrolysed starch or corn syrup so be sure to check ingredients carefully to avoid excess sugar.
Cutting down your sugar intake does not have to be difficult and with small changes you can drastically reduce your sugar intake.  
Swapping to sugar free fizzy drinks, limiting how often you have dessert and adding sweeteners to tea and coffee instead of sugar could all help towards consuming less sugar.

If you have any questions or need any hep or information you contact me at: emma@zestwellness.co.uk

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Posted by
Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health for Knowsley and Sefton
on June 6th, 2018



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