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The Bitter-Sweetness of Sugar

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

Sugar has a very bitter-sweet reputation. Most people are unaware that sugar naturally occurs in all foods that contain carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, dairy and grains). Eating foods that naturally contain sugar is perfectly fine because they also contain fibre and minerals. The fibre helps to slow the digestive process in your body, thus the sugar energy release is slow and steady.

This sounds like good news, however the problem arises when we eat 'added or refined sugar', sugar that is added by manufacturers to enhance the flavour or extend a product's shelf-life.

The big culprits for refined or added sugar come from:

  • Soft drinks

  • Fruit drinks

  • Biscuits

  • Cakes

  • Flavoured yogurts

  • Processed food

  • Ready-meals

These all seem rather obvious, but refined and added sugars can also be found within: bread, soup, cured meat and ketchup. As a result, we all consume too much sugar.

The average adult in the UK eats 59g of sugar per day. NHS 2020 advice states that an adult should consume a maximum of 30g of sugar a day, or roughly 7 sugar cubes.

Effects of Sugar:

  • Weight gain from the extra calorie intake

  • Increase risk of developing diabetes

  • Increase risk of developing heart disease

  • It effects our immune system and how our body fight diseases

  • Headaches

  • Increase stress levels

  • Mood swings

  • Tooth decay

6 things that can be done:

  1. If you have sugar in your hot drinks, start to reduce the amount you add. Do this gradually overtime to give you tastebuds time to adjust.

  2. Avoid 'low fat' diet foods. These tend to be high in sugars to add flavour. Instead, have smaller portions of the regular versions.

  3. Be cautious of 'sugar free' foods. These often contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose, saccharin and aspartame. Although these taste sweet, research suggests that they don't help to curb a sweet tooth. It starts sending confusing messages to the brain that can lead to over-eating.

  4. Switch to less refined options. Swap white bread, rice and pasta for wholegrain versions like oats, granary and wholemeal breads, brown rice and pasta.

  5. Reduce the amount of sugary drinks. Try to cut-down on any sugary drinks and only have one fruit juice drink a day.

  6. Pick a healthier alternative. Go for some fruit, nuts or a plain yogurt (See healthy snacks blog)

Even small changes to how much sugar you eat, will have a huge impact on your slim transformation journey.

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