Sugar Intake

by charlie smart in Nutrition

It’s that dreaded subject, sugar intake. We all know that on the down low we secretly have a little bit too much sugar in our tea, drink a little bit too much in the form of fizzy drinks and eat too much in the form of sweets and chocolate. So, we will be looking at how much is recommended per day for adults according to the American Heart Association (AHA), the truth about natural sugar found in fruit and vegetables and a few other bits too!

Sugar Intake Recommendations
Women = 6 teaspoons (25g)
Men = 9 teaspoons (38g)
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the recommended amount of sugar for the average adult to take in per day is 6tsp for women and 9tsp for men. If you think about it, one can of Original Coca Cola contains 35g of sugar – that’s your whole days’ worth of sugar gone in one can! That’s a biggy to think about.
While on the subject of fizzy drinks, there is a lot of controversy with diet and zero sugar drinks and whether these are as much the healthier option as we all think. Many diet and zero drinks contain artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame, this one in particular has been under a lot of scrutiny in the media and research recently, proving that it can have lots of different side effects including increasing appetite amongst several others. Meaning we are drinking diet drinks to take the ‘healthier’ option when in fact it will in fact boost our hunger and cravings. Take a look into it online, it is really interesting!

Fruit – ‘Natural Sugars’

Fructose is the name of natural sugar that is found in fruit and vegetables. There are a lot of opinions surrounding natural sugar and the argument:
‘It’s fruit, so it is healthy, I can eat as much as I like’ vs ‘sugar is sugar, natural or not’!
Fructose is only bad when it is consumed as added sugar to the body, it is harmful in excessive amounts – as is a lot of things! However, you are not only consuming fructose in its natural state, but also fibre, vitamins and minerals – many people forget that fruit serves other purposes too.
Smoothies are also a cause for debate, a lot of people think that smoothies are good for us because we are taking in lots of fruit at once. This unfortunately is not true. When blending fruit, the natural sugar is released from within the cell walls of the fruit and become “free sugars”. Free sugars are any sugars that are added by the consumer or manufacturer, the type that we should be cutting down on to maintain a healthy weight.

What Does Excess Sugar do to our Bodies?
A copiousness amount of sugar in our bodies puts extra pressure on the liver and can potentially cause insulin resistance. The livers usual job is to secrete the hormone insulin, which helps to turn sugar in the blood stream into energy. If the body becomes insulin resistant, you will have a problem controlling blood sugar levels as the liver can no longer control the amount of sugar in the blood – which in some cases can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

Be Mindful
When you are doing your shopping, or making your tea or coffee, or even when baking at home – be mindful of whether you are adding excess sugar that is not necessary, lots of foods are already naturally sweetened and do not require extra sugar. Think about different options, for example can you switch from sugar in your brew to a low-calorie sweetener? Hopefully this isn’t too drastic for you, I’m not talking coffee to decaf! Check the labels a little more and be mindful of what you are putting into your bodies – your teeth will thank you for it!