Sugar has become a bit of a dirty world, blamed for a host of health issues such as obesity, tooth decay, and diabetes. The sugar-free movement has taken off in a BIG way, with many people reaping the benefits of cutting out (or at least, reducing) the sweet stuff from their diets. We’re on the sugar-free train, and we’ve never felt better!
But there’s more to going “off” sugar than just skipping that spoonful in your cup of tea. If you want to look and feel healthier, you don’t need to deprive yourself – you just have to learn how to treat yourself without the nasties. So, let’s talk sweets…
Sugar is a mixture of fructose and glucose that comes in a variety of forms. While sugar does provide the body with energy, any of this energy that isn’t burnt up by activity is stored as fat, which – you guessed it – affects our mood, weight and energy levels.
There are a few different types of sugar. Refined sugar – that white stuff you might pour into a cake mix – is the worst of the lot. It’s highly processed, has no nutritional value, and a high Glycaemic Index. The index is one way to measure how sugars in foods affect blood glucose. The lower the number, the better for your health, as low-GI foods keep your blood sugar levels stable. As you can probably imagine, lollies, chocolates, soft drinks and the like have a sky-high GI, meaning they lift you up before sending you crashing down. Have you ever felt even more tired an hour after eating chocolate? Or been in a foul mood after guzzling lemonade? That’s why.
Now, a better form of sugar is natural sugar – like that found in fruit. While we still need to watch how much we eat, it’s a far better option than the processed stuff.
That brings us to the big question: how much sugar can we (healthily) eat? Well, the World Health Organisation says sugar should take up no more than 10% of our diets, and Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council puts the number at 15-20%.
Let’s break it down.
According to these stats, the average man (aged between 30-60) can consume 24-32 teaspoons a day.
The average woman can consume 19-25 teaspoons.
And this accounts for both red frogs and rockmelons – in the eyes of health organisations, sugar is sugar.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth but are keen to cut out the traditional white stuff, we have good news! There are plenty of natural, healthier options to consider. Here are our faves:
Have you tried reducing the amount of sugar in your diet? How do you feel?