The Big Sugar Debate:
So much is written about sugar and sugar intake that we thought it would be a good idea to organize the articles and research papers and provide our own take on the simple truth about sugar.
The Current State:
Here’s a stat that will make you sit up and take notice; Americans eat a staggering 31 teaspoons of sugar a day. How? What people tend not to understand is that most of our sugar intake doesn’t simply come from sweet treats such as cakes and biscuits, but rather from the vast array of processed products. Even those that claim to be health foods are no exception.
Sugar is rapidly becoming a national health problem in the U.S., with excess sugar being the number one cause of diabetes and obesity. So what are the current guidelines and what is being done to tackle this national epidemic?
Is There Any Such Thing as Healthy Sugar?
There seems to be considerable public confusion about which sugars are healthy and which are not. The short answer is that most naturally occurring sugars such as honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and agave are better than those that are processed, such as table sugar and high fructose corn syrup. However, neither of these are what we would normally refer to as being healthy or indeed, as many think, necessary.
Metabolically speaking, neither natural or processed sugars appear to be any good for you. Healthy humans seem to be able to cope with small amounts of sugar, but beyond that, many people will develop metabolic and general health issues as a result of over-consumption. In these instances, people tend to find themselves with blood glucose impairment and eventually in the worst but increasingly prevalent cases, type two diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.
What Should We Eat?
Biologically speaking it appears that the modern human requires no excess sugar at all. From a genetic standpoint, our fascination with sugar seems to be a hangover from the times when we have an evolutionary need to find food to survive. Since our bodies and societies are largely beyond that state, we are now at a point where most of the sugar we consume is unnecessary and when we do consume it, our bodies are ill equipped to process and store it.
What Does All Of This Mean for My Sugar Intake?
There is a right answer to this, but it is hard to ascertain without delving deeply into your physiology and lifestyle. However, it can be assumed that as humans, we need far less than we currently consume. You should consult your doctor if you feel like your sugar intake is causing you problems and if you are unsure as to what you should be eating you can always speak to our nutrition team here at NuVista® Living.
The long and short of the sugar debate appears to be this; cakes, cookies, candies, soda, ready-made meals, packet sauces and pretty much anything that comes in a jar should be off the menu. All the sugars we need and more are already provided for by natural ingredients such a fruit and vegetables.
An excess of processed sugars can lead to a variety of health problems but what many do not know is that sugar is being hidden in foods that we believe are “sugar-free” or “healthy.” Foods like tomato sauce, cereals, wheat bread, salad dressings, marinades, and salty crackers all have added sugars, so even with the best intentions and being super careful all we can really do is cut down on sugar where we know it exists and where we ourselves put it.
So think about that sugar in your tea, think about that mid-morning cookie and perhaps put it down and instead pick up a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts instead. If you are interested in reducing your sugar intake then this week’s Chefs Table might just be for you.