In our modern and fast-paced lives, it can be difficult to keep a healthy balance of nutrients in our food. Sugar is one of these nutrients, and the cells in our body would die without it.
Consuming too much sugar, however, raises the risk of several problems, including poor dental health, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that belongs to a class of chemically-related sweet-flavoured substances. It comes in many different forms. The three main types of sugar are sucrose, lactose, and fructose. Added sugar contains no beneficial nutrients and only contributes to tooth decay, diabetes and obesity.
Added sugars contribute zero nutrients and are just empty calories that will lead to extra kilos or even obesity, therefore reducing heart health.
Being aware of the existing and added sugar contents of the foods and drinks we consume is vital for our health – even more so today because so many products have sugar added to them.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) published new guidelines recommending that adults and children alike reduce their consumption of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake, with further reduction to below 5% associated with additional health benefits.
The term sugars includes glucose, fructose and sucrose added to foods and drinks, as well as sugars naturally present in syrups, honey and fruit juice. It does not apply to sugars found naturally in fresh fruit, vegetables or milk, as to date there is no evidence associating the consumption of these sugars with adverse effects.
A single teaspoon of sugar is around 5 grams (g). The World Health Organisation states that reducing daily sugar consumption to 5% of daily energy intake would be around 6 teaspoons of sugar.
- Iced Coffee – (500 ml) – 46.5 grams of sugar – a whopping 9.5 teaspoons of sugar!
- Coke (one can) – 8.25 teaspoons of sugar
- Pepsi(one can) – 8.75 teaspoons of sugar
- Tonic Water – 300 ml – 5.5 teaspoons of sugar
- Snickers bar (52.7g) – 6.75 teaspoons of sugar
- Milk chocolate M&M’s packet(47.9 g) – 7.5 teaspoons of sugar.
A study published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, identified a link between drinking more than one soft drink a day increased the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
FRUITS contain fructose, a type of sugar. Fresh fruits have no “added sugar”, but as you can see below, their levels of sugar range greatly.
- Mangos– 3.2 teaspoons of sugar
- Bananas– 3 teaspoons of sugar
- Apples– 2.6 teaspoons of sugar
- Pineapples– 2.5 teaspoons of sugar
- Grapes– 4 teaspoons of sugar
- Lemons– 0.6 teaspoons of sugar
- Kiwi fruit– 2.3 teaspoons of sugar
- Tomatoes– 0.7 teaspoons of sugar