The affects our increased sugar intake is having on our health has been widely discussed recently in the media, and undoubtedly the amounts we consume in our daily diets, both knowingly and unknowingly, has risen significantly in recent years. As some of you will know, my past health issues have left me with the inability to digest any form of sugar so I have become very accustomed to checking food for its presence, and, as a result, I can vouch for the fact that sugar now appears in far more products then it did – some very unexpected! Probably a response to the current demand for cheaper food as manufacturers use sugar to counteract the potential reduction in taste resulting from poorer, cheaper ingredients.
Pure sugar definitely is detrimental to our health.
As a toxin to the body it contributes to raised acidity impacting the body’s natural balance and creating the ideal environment for bugs and bacteria, in addition to overloading us with empty calories, disrupting metabolism and leading to weight gain – not great really!
So given this, opting for low or no sugar options would seem like a good idea? Well maybe not.
The response of the food industry to concerns over sugar has been, in many cases, to reduce the sugar content by the use of artificial sweeteners. Look at the ingredients list of many of those low or no sugar options and you’ll see them lurking there. And it’s a situation that is likely to get worse if proposals to introduce sugar taxes takes hold. Unsure of which they are? As a general rule of thumb anything on an ingredients list that you can’t pronounce is probably not that good for you!
And the problem with the artificial sweeteners?
These products aren’t natural, being chemically based so, as such, are no better for us really than normal sugar, and potentially are even more problematic.
So what to do?
Absolutely for better health you need to reduce, and if possible, avoid sugar as much as possible but don’t choose the ‘No Added Sugar’ option. Instead prepare as much of your food from scratch as possible then you know what is, and isn’t, in it. Where you need to sweeten choose a natural option such as a plant based sweeteners (do be selective though as not all are as good as they could be!), honey or fruit which ever suits you best.
And where sugar is unavoidable?
Use actual sugar rather than a sweetener, just use less and try to opt for un-refined and organic wherever you can.
So as the sugar debate rumbles on take care to make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of swapping one problem for another!