• Christina

I am addicted - Are you?

Updated: May 16

It felt like my body was shaking uncontrollable. My mind became foggy and I wasn’t able

to think clearly. My concentration dropped dramatically within minutes, and I was awfully close to falling asleep. It felt like my whole body was shutting down!

What caused such a major reaction in my body?

A snake bite? A heart attack? A massive allergic reaction?

No, none of the above. This was caused by something most of us consume every day – Sugar! To be exact 3 teaspoons of refined sugar!

So how come it had such a major impact on me? The answer is simple – I hadn’t eaten any refined sugar for 6 months so my body wasn’t used to processing refined sugar anymore and therefore treated it as a poison that it needed to get rid of as quickly as possible. This caused my body to go into emergency mode and direct all energy in my body towards getting rid of this poison resulting in my body closing down all non-essential functions of my body to deal with this crisis. It took my body around 1½ hour of intense work to return the balance in my body and for me to feel on top again, but it will take me a lot longer to shake this scary experience off!

We have heard about it for years now. Sugar is not good for us! There is sugar in everything we eat! Sugar is addictive! So how big a problem is it actually?

I think most people are aware that there is sugar in most cakes, lollies, ice crème and soft drinks but do you know that things like your bacon, pasta sauce, coleslaw and tea often also have sugar added?

There is no doubt the we all need some sugar from time to time but the big question is where this sugar is coming from? Is it naturally occurring in the food or is it added?

Let’s be clear, sugars occur naturally in most foods. Basically, sugar is a large group of molecules that share a similar structure. Sugars are part of the carbohydrate family because most carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugar molecule structures by our body during the digestion process.

Even if we wanted to, it is almost impossible to 100% avoid sugar or something that turn into a form of sugar in our digestion system. This is however not as dangerous for us as refined sugar often added to our food without us knowing it.

The World Health Organisation recommends that no more than 10% of our total daily energy intake come from sugar, which amounts to 52 grams or 12 teaspoons of added sugar per day.

How can we ensure we stay under the 10%, if we don’t know that sugar is in the food? When did you last look at the ingredients list of the food you put in your basket when shopping? Even if you did this recently, are you able to identify all 60 types of sugar, the food manufacturers use?

The problem with sugar added to our food is that it provide no or only very little nutrition for our body, so it means that eating too many foods high in added sugars can increase overall energy intake and at the same time replace more nutritious foods in our diet. This will essentially result in us being overfed and undernourished.

Long-term an over-consumption of sugar, will increase the risk of us developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, not to mention dental decay.

So how much sugar do we eat?

The most Sugar Loving Nation in the World is United States with 126.40 grams sugar per day, no. 5 on the list is Australia with 95.60 grams sugar per day and no. 17 on the list is Denmark with 75.1 grams sugar per day. Remember the recommended daily max. consumption is 52 grams, so all 3 countries are well above the max. recommended daily intake. Of the 54 countries on the list, only 25 countries are below the recommended daily intake. This also mean that most countries on the list are above the recommended daily intake.

What is your daily sugar intake? And how big is your risk of developing one of the diseases mentioned above?

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