I caught this one on Netflix. I haven’t been able to catch documentaries for a long time now, especially after K. So I decided to indulge in something meaningful this time. Here are some takeaways…
Sugar is not empty calories, it is toxic calories. The increased consumption of sugar by humans have resulted in the non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and so on, also called lifestyle diseases. Not all calories are made equal, and hence metabolized equally by our body. When our body has a overload of sugar, like when we eat dessert, the fructose needs to be processed by our liver which then feels overwhelmed and converts the sugar to fat thus contributing to weight gain.
Sugar is dangerous when consumed beyond a limit. That limit is set by World Health Organization to 5% for children and for adults 10% of daily total energy intake. That comes to 25g of sugar at 5%. Now, approximately 4.2g is equal to 1 teaspoon. So, that makes it 6 teaspoon of free sugar per person a day.
Sugar is hidden in MOST of the packaged foods. Even bread contains sugar- my package says it is less than 1 g per slice not 0g. I consider myself to follow a normally healthy lifestyle. I cook all my meals and use ketchup, syrups, sauce in moderation. So, how did my sugar intake add up for today?
- Organic tomato Ketchup 4g in 1 tblsp
- Coffee 12 g
- Brownie 24g
- Honey as I have cold : 1 tbsp 16g
- Total = 56g = 14 tsp.
Whoa… that is more than twice the recommendation!! Add to this any snack for evening time that is just not under my control yet.
Dry fruits need a special mention. When they package dry fruit, seems they dip it in sugar syrup and then package to increase the weight to maximize the profit. So it is not ordinary dried fruit but sweetened dry fruit. Sugar is so rampant in packaging because it is cheap for it’s weight and makes the food palatable. Especially the low fat version where the food tastes so bad they add sugar to make it tasty.
“No Added Sugar” on the front of the cover does not mean it contains no sugar. Sugar in ingredients list also comes in so many different names. We need to read the nutrition information at the back for the actual grams of sugar per serving. This is especially true for fruit juice, fruit jelly, fruit snacks that are for kids. While it is OK to indulge in them on occasion, regular eating damages dental and over all health.
Once our tongue gets used to a specific quantity of sugar or salt or spice, that taste does not stand out. To make it sweeter, we tend to increase the quantity of sugar automatically or go for larger quantities to get to the same experience. This works in favor of food industry as the consumer tends to finish up the product quickly and return for more.
Sugar through whole fruits, whole foods is fine. The fiber in whole foods fills us up quickly and we don’t consume dangerous quantities plus we get to have the nutrients that our body needs for daily function and repair.
So the bottom line is, we need to be more watchful of the limit on sugar intake per day. This limit, though it looks adequate, can easily be surpassed by the sugar we consume without notice though packaged foods.