We should all be aware of how much sugar we consume. Sugar Awareness week is in May, so why not get ahead of the game and start thinking about how much sugar you eat now!
Sugar is very calorie-dense and it’s very easy to consume a lot of it, sometimes without being aware of just how many calories we’ve eaten. All kinds of food contain added sugar, often when we wouldn’t even consider it. For this reason, it
is always worth looking at packaging to see how much sugar food and drink products contain.
In reality, sugar calories are no more fattening than any other calories, but it’s the fact that sugar has a lot of calories!
If you are eating taking care to eat well, then a lower sugar intake can only be good for you. If you eat too much, you are either displacing more nutritious foods in your diet, or just adding more calories to your diet on top of any nutritious foods you are already eating. Then you will put weight on.
5 Reasons why sugar is bad for you
1. Sugar is an empty calorie – it lacks any nutritional value. Adding it to food and drinks means the body usually digest them more quickly, and they are not a good source of energy.
Food and drink products that contain natural sugar are different, and the body digests these foods at a slower rate, therefore making them a lasting source of energy.
2. Weight gain is another factor of eating too much sugar. Most foods and drinks containing sugar are high in calories, so overeating too much can affect your weight.
3. Diabetes. Sugar doesn’t cause diabetes, but a high calorie diet can lead to type 2 diabetes. Where people eat a large amount of sugary foods, which are high in calories, this can increase the risk of diabetes. Sugary drinks are particularly bad.
We talked about diabetes and sugar in a blog last year.
4. Tooth cavities. When you have eaten sugar, bacteria in the mouth forms a thin layer of plaque over your teeth. These bacteria react with sugars in food and drink, which then triggers a reaction and releases an acid that damages your teeth. Limiting the amount of sugar you eat, can obviously help you to keep healthier teeth.
5. Heart disease. A high-sugar diet can also increase the risk of heart disease. A study at Harvard has shown that people who obtain 17 to 21% of their calories from added sugar, have a 38% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared with those who only consumed 8% of their calories from added sugar. The research also suggested that sugary drinks are particularly bad.
What are the bad sugars?
The type of sugars most adults and children in the UK eat too much of are ‘free sugars’ –
any sugars added to food or drinks. Including biscuits, chocolate, flavoured yoghurts, cakes, breakfast cereals and fizzy drinks.
Sugars in honey, syrups (such as maple, agave and golden), nectars, unsweetened fruit juices, vegetable juices and smoothies, although occurring naturally still count as ‘free sugars.’
Sugars found naturally in milk, fruit and vegetables does not count as ‘free sugars’ and are good for you.
According to the NHS, sugars added to food or drink should not take up more than 5% of your calories you get from food and drink each day.
This equates to:
For adults; no more than 30g of free sugars a day (equivalent to 7 sugar cubes)
Children 7 – 10 no more than 24g a day (6 sugar cubes)
Children 4 – 6 no more than 19g a day. (5 sugar cubes)
For children under 4 the NHS guideline is that they should avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and food with sugar added to it.
As an example, a can of cola can contain as much as 9 cubes of sugar!
When reading labels, look out for the following added sugars:
Added sugars can be under other names too, so look out for:
- agave nectar
- high-fructose corn syrup
- corn sweetener
- crystalline fructose
- evaporated cane juice
Creative Nature Products and sugar:
In our products we aim to use less sugar in the recipes, where possible. We use unrefined cane sugar, in place of refined sugar in all of our Baking Mixes.
Our range of popular snacks, Gnawbles, all contain 43% less sugar than the market leading brands.
Not only are they lower in sugar, but they come in a variety of flavours and you can buy them in different sized packs too, so it’s easy to keep an eye on the amount of extra sugar you are adding to your diet.
The variety of Gnawbles flavours are:
Super Salted Caramel; Brilliant Orange Cacao Crispy Protein; Cheeky Choc Hazelnot Light and Crunchy; and Creamy Mylk Chocoalte Light and Crunchy Gnawbles.
They are available in small single packs, share bags, and of course if you are fans of them you can buy several flavours, in bundles.
Which ones are you going to choose?