Go on, play this while you read - I know you want to...
The sugar debate has raised its head with a vengeance in this first month of 2014 - in the UK there are newspaper articles, documentaries and blog posts all shocked and appalled at how much sugar is in our food!
Here's a typically hysterical Daily Mail article about a woman who changed her child's diet to be more healthy and discovered they were eating more sugar than before! The first thing you might notice is that they still eat a lot of processed foods. The second thing is that she serves Special K Oats and Honey cereal... The last time I checked, honey was sugar!!
Here are my top observations about sugar: (by the way, I hope you're still singing along... I am!)
- After being on a heavily sugar-restricted diet for medical reasons, the two things I can no longer bear to eat are Heinz Tomato Soup and Kit Kats. They are both far too sweet.
- Sugar can be an addiction, but you can also wean yourself off it.
- The energy slump you experience after eating sugar usually has you reaching for more sugar, but if you eat a protein/fat based snack, such as nuts or a boiled egg, you will be sated for longer.
- Low fat versions of common foods (such as yoghurt and cottage cheese) tend to have higher levels of sugar, when actually those foods are not high fat so there's really no need to choose a low fat version. These foods rely on added sugar to preserve the taste, texture and flavour.
- Fat is not the enemy - our body needs fat, approximately 20 - 30% of your daily calories should come from fat. Current research suggests we need a certain amount of saturated fat too, and a couple of years ago that was a big no-no.
If you're concerned about your sugar consumption, or you've been trying to lose weight without success, take a closer look at the food labels - a couple of strategic changes might make a big difference.
Note: sugar in fruit is not a problem, because the sugar is bound into the fibre of the fruit so it releases more slowly than the quick hit of a chocolate bar or cake. If you can't give up cake, consider making your own and experimenting with using less sugar than the recipe suggests!