Addicted to sugar? You're not alone and this is why!

by Gillian Day

As a society, we have a love affair with sugar. We turn to it when we want to celebrate ...... perhaps a birthday, a wedding, or even to celebrate the afternoon if you work in an office. We also turn to sugar when we’re feeling low – through a break up, or just a rubbish week at work.

Our food system supports our reliance on sugar 100% and we have been eating vast amounts of the stuff rather blindly in recent decades without much thought of whether or not it’s ok – it’s not and the research is in to prove it!

Hidden Sugars

  • Salad dressings
  • Pasta sauce
  • Bread
  • Tinned foods – e.g. baked beans, soup
  • Convenience meals
  • Cereals – e.g. All Bran
  • Cereal bars

How much sugar should we have?

Government recommendations are 30g, or 7 x teaspoons of ‘added’ sugar per day. These ‘added’ sugars are the one’s you find in fizzy drinks (E.g. a can of cola has more than 10 teaspoons alone!), biscuits, chocolate – and also your latte and the honey on your toast.

It’s important to understand that as human beings we are designed only to allow very small amounts of sugar into the bloodstream at any 1 time – 1 or 2 teaspoons maximum. Any more than this and the hormone, insulin is produced to get sugar out of the bloodstream and into our cells. If large amounts of sugar are consumed regularly, our cells become ‘lazy’ and stop listening to insulin which can lead to a build up of sugar in the blood stream = BIG problems ; including type II diabetes and heart disease.

Fructose

Each molecule of food we put into our mouths has corresponding appetite hormones that tell us we have eaten enough, and that ; ‘we’re satisfied – stop eating’. Except with fructose……we don’t have a fructose ‘full’ switch. It doesn’t signal the same hormones that other food molecules signal so our brains don’t tell our bodies that we’re full, therefore we can keep going and going and going…….

In addition to not having an ‘off switch’, fructose is converted directly to fat. We can't use fructose immediately for energy (the way we would use glucose - only approximately 20% of glucose is converted to fat directly). When we drink fructose (fruit juices, soft drinks) this fat converting process is even more efficient and faster.


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