You can’t have missed the recent health advice in papers and on television to cut that sugar!

While we have been encouraged to reduce fat as much as possible, the food industry replaced this with sugar and gave low fat, high sugar foods a ‘healthy halo’.

However research has been indicating for some time that it may be these increases in sugar intake promoting the epidemic of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease that is occurring today.

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On average we have about 24 teaspoons of sugar each per day, 200 years ago this was closer to 1 ½ teaspoons.

Most of us no longer have sugar in our tea or on cereals, so where does it all come from!

The majority of people don’t realise that you can get almost half of this in a 500ml can of soft drink, a can of soup may have 3 teaspoons, 5 teaspoons might be in your high caffeine energy drink, 2 ½ in a small dish of cereals and possibly 3 ½ teaspoons in a ‘low fat’ yogurt.

When you then add in all the sugars added to convenience meals and that little cake or chocolate treat you sneak in, it all adds up.

So what is all this sugar doing to us?

5 ways sugar affects our health

1) High sugar diets can lead to elevated insulin levels, our cells can become insulin resistant, which may lead to increased cholesterol, elevated blood pressure (1)  and  predispose us to developing type 2 diabetes.

2) Insulin assists in the uptake of amino acids by muscle therefore helping to build and maintain muscle, (2) if our cells become resistance to insulin this action may be impaired. Less muscle less calories burnt!

3) High insulin levels have been linked with a hormonal issues and acne. (3)(4)

4) High sugar diets appear to increase your risk of developing gallstones. It is estimated that 40 grams of sugar per day doubles your risk of developing gall stones. (5)

5) Bacterial balance within the gut can be influenced by high fat and sugar diets. (6) New research is suggesting that bacterial imbalance can have a significant impact on weight management. (7)

5 Ways to reduce sugar in your diet

sugar is the new fat2

1) Cook from scratch take out as many processed foods as possible.

2) Switch sugar drinks for water, fruit teas, decaffeinated tea, water with a slice of lemon or a small amount of fresh juice etc.

3) Swap sugary breakfast cereals for eggs, porridge, whole grain cereals or muesli, with no added sugar such as Weetabix or high protein breakfast shakes.

4) Include healthy options such as a piece of fruit, healthy high protein bars, low sugar flap jacks, nuts, seeds, low fat natural yogurt with berries, fresh fruit salad etc. instead of cakes, biscuits or sweets.

5) Eat at regular intervals and include lots of fibre and protein this will reduce your cravings for sweet foods (8) and support beneficial bacteria.

Also check out this Sugar addiction detox diet

References

1) DiNicolantonio (2014) The wrong white crystals: not salt but sugar as aetiological in hypertension and cardio metabolic disease. Open heart. Available from http://openheart.bmj.com

2) Brandt.M.(1999) Glucose Homeostasis. Chapter 5 Available from http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~brandt/Chem330/EndocrineNotes/index.html

3) Solorzano,C. McCartney,C. Blank,S. Knudsen,K. Marshall,J. (2010) Hyperandrogaemia in adolescent girls: origins of abnormal gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion. BJOG International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology117:143-149

4) Tsilchorozidou,T Overton,C. Conway,G. (2004) The Pathophysiology if polycystic ovary syndrome. Clinical Endocrinology. [online] 60,

5) Cuevas et al (2004) Diet as a Risk Factor for Cholesterol Gallstone Disease. Journal of the American Collage of Nutrition. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

6) De Filippo (2010) Impact of diet in shaping gut microbiota revealed by a comparative study in children from Europe and rural Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

7) Yueh-Ting et al (2014) Anti-obesity effects of gut microbiota are associated with lactic acid bacteria. Applied Microbiology & Biotechnology Available from http://connection.ebscohost.com

8) Jenkins D. et al(2002) Glycemic index: overview of implications in health and disease. American Journal of Nutrition 76. 266-273

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