So there's lots of talk about the health effects of sugar and we now know how damaging processed and refined sugar are for our bodies. But you might be wondering, how much sugar should I really be consuming and what does that look like in real life?
In 2015, the World Health Organization released its guidelines recommending the world reduce its sugar intake.
These are the current recommended daily intake amounts of "free sugar":
Women should consume up to 6 teaspoons or 24g
Men should consume up to 9 teaspoons or 36g
Children should consume up to 3 teaspoons or 12g
“Free sugars” include sugar (in the form of table sugar, sucrose, fructose & glucose) which is added to our food as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
Now before we go any further, you might be thinking… "well I don’t really eat that much sugar... I don’t touch chocolate bars or put sugar in my coffee, so I’m all good." But unfortunately, a substantial amount of our sugar intake comes added into processed foods like: flavoured yogurt, packaged cereals, ketchup and salad dressings. The amount of hidden sugar in our food is what drives me crazy. This is why I’m all for cooking more from scratch (which also results in maximised nutritional value of food) and then saving your excessive sugar intake for that slice of cake at your friend’s birthday party or that those couple glasses of wine on the weekend.
Here’s a real world example of the harsh truth:
Quaker Harvest Crunch Granola Cereal with a ⅔ cup serving size has 10g of sugar.
Activia Blueberry Yogurt with a ⅓ cup serving size has 13g of sugar.
And of course, you’re told that granola & yogurt makes a healthy breakfast so you combine the two and you end up consuming 23g of sugar in that one little bowl. That pretty much makes up your daily recommended sugar intake!
Now, please understand this... I love food and I'm not opposed to indulging here and there. What I'm striving to do is educate you about the food you eat and empower you with healthy alternatives to make it that much easier to eat nutritionally and feel great.
So on that note, do you want some healthy breakfast ideas? I've written a blog post with 8 healthy breakfast meals and 6 tips on how to make them quick!
So what are the health effects of sugar again? As Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar explains:
Sugar keeps us hungry. It messes with our appetite mechanism and the hormones Leptin and Ghrelin which control our hunger signals. We continue to think we’re hungry even when we’re not.
Sugar makes us fat. As I explain in this blog post, we can only store so much sugar as energy in our bodies, after that we store it as fat… endlessly.
Sugar ages our body and causes wrinkles. Sugar reacts with amino acid proteins in the body, causing premature ageing.
Sugar increases our risk of cancer. A systematic review conducted by the Department of Medicine, University of Maryland shows consumption of sugar may compromise the body’s natural antioxidant defence mechanisms, thereby increasing the risk of cancer.
But please know that there are SO many delicious and healthy alternatives for living a sugar free lifestyle. They will not only help you avoid the effects of sugar but will also counteract it with so much amazing nutritional value to help your body feel great and get your skin glowing! For tons inspiration join me on Instagram.
Want to read more about this? Check out Environmental Working Group's study of 1,556 cereals, that found that children's cereals and packaged granola are just as sweet as cookies.
Shan x x