The average sugar consumption for an adult is 25kg a year. That equates to anywhere from 20 teaspoons a day or more. The World Health Organisation recommends that for health we should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. What’s the bet this morning over 3 million people in Sydney alone blew their sugar budget, and that is not adding any sugar. Cereals for breakfast, orange juice, chocolate milk, up and go, toast and jam, donut or muffin it is easily done if you are eating the Standard Australian Diet.
Too much sugar makes us sick, fat and depressed. As well as being addictive, sugar is the cause of many health issues. It has been estimated that:
So why is sugar such a huge problem? It’s because our food supply has changed dramatically since the 1950’s. As Cyndi Omeara puts it, we are part of one enormous scientific experiment. The foods that we are choosing to eat are not as healthy as we think. Unless the ingredient list has words that you are familiar with, then it’s likely that food is not a good choice. Sugar is extremely addictive, and has been likened to a cocaine addiction. We keep on coming back for more, and more and more.
Sugar is made up of glucose and fructose. Every living cell in your body needs glucose. Whereas fructose, we don’t have any physiological need for it. In small amounts, fructose in whole fruits can be absorbed efficiently in the intestines and the liver is able to break down fructose into forms that the body can use. The problem arises when we eat processed foods. These foods contain large amounts of high fructose corn syrup and refined sugars. Once eaten they are rapidly absorbed across the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream, which goes directly to the liver. The liver is the only organ that can break down fructose, and can easily get overloaded. As a coping mechanism, the liver stores fructose around the abdomen, which we call visceral fat and also around the heart. This puts us at risk of insulin resistance, diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and chronic ill health.
We are all familiar with the roller coaster ride we go on when we eat sugar. We have a quick surge of adrenalin, our blood pressure rises, our heart beats rapidly, cortisol is released. We are in flight and fight mode, restless, anxious and hypervigilant. When our trustworthy and hardworking hormone insulin manages to push all the sugar in our blood into our cells our blood sugar plummets causing us to get that slump that we so often experience around 10am and 3pm when we crave more sweet foods to get us out of the slump again. And so the vicious cycle goes on and on. Our taste buds have been trained to only want sweetened processed foods.
What can we do to break the cycle?
So what are the benefits of giving up sugar
Be Extraordinary, through Healthy Food Choices.
Krys Lojek, Nutritionist