There is a considerable amount of evidence that high levels of sugar are associated with premature aging, heart disease, obesity and even some cancers. Let’s of course not forget, sugar is the biggest culprit in diabetes. Many health experts are now calling for a significant reduction in recommended daily sugar intake, while others are asking the government to launch a “teaspoon” tax to deter people from using sugar products.
What Is Sugar?
Sugar is a simple molecule naturally available as glucose, lactose, fructose, sucrose and maltose, and can be found in just about any food. Most notorious for sugar are soft drinks, pies, desserts, baked foods, chocolates and even some liqueurs. Sugar also hides in other less obvious food, such as sauces, dressing, and dips.
What Do Recent Studies Say?
Researchers now claim that we as a nation are addicted to sugar and need to “de-sweeten” our bodies. Sugar should be a treat and not a dietary staple. One study in animals revealed that animals fed with high sugars developed symptoms of withdrawal when it was discontinued. Another study showed that high consumption of sugar led to a decrease in the life span of mice.
What Do Global Statistics Say?
Statistics show that globally, the consumption of sugar has increased over the past 40 years. More importantly, children seem to be consuming more sugar than their preceding generations. Almost every country has reported high intake of sugar. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that we should not be consuming more than 10% of total daily calories from free sugar but most people consume twice that amount.
The outcry about sugar has led the WHO to revise its sugar recommendations from 10% to 5%, while others support complete elimination of sugar from the daily diet. Unfortunately, complete elimination of sugar is not possible, because many natural and healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and nuts contain sugar. Sugar catches a lot of flak, but our bodies need a certain amount of sugar for energy production. Instead of steering away from sugar completely, many health experts believe it can be consumed as part of a healthy diet.
At the end of the day, sugar is like most everything else…enjoy it, but only in moderation!