Sugar – the hidden killer

Sugar

You might have seen in the news this week that there’s been a kerfuffle about a potential ‘sugar tax’ on food and drink that’s high in sugar.

You can decide for yourself on the politics of whether a price hike is the right thing to do or not – but one thing for sure is we are facing an obesity crisis, and too much sugar is at the heart of it all.

A shocking 6 in 10 British adultsĀ are either overweight or obese . And our kids are catching up – in the last year of primary school 3 in 10 kids are also overweight or obese, and dentists report that half of eight-year-olds have tooth decay from too much sugar.

So why is sugar so bad?

When we consume it, our body produces a hormone called insulin which helps the sugar get into our cells to provide energy, if we consume more than our energy needs, insulin converts that extra sugar to fat, meaning we put on weight.

Even worse, when we over-consume for a long period of time, our insulin levels remain high and we can become resistant to it, our body doesn’t produce enough: hello type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is an awful disease for many reasons – it can cause blindness, leads to all manner of other conditions including heart attacks and strokes, and can lead to amputations. The worst part is if it comes about because of a high-sugar diet, it’s self-inflicted to a point.

The row this week has come about following a report by Public Health England that called for a sugar tax. Naturally, big business in the form of the food and drink industry don’t want this – and the government is caught somewhere in the middle of the interests of the country’s health and interests of companies who are worth a lot of money.

The report highlighted that we should take no more than 5 per cent of our calorific intake from sugar, but we typically take in between 12 and 15 per cent of our calories from sugar.

The advice is simple: if you want to live a healthy life, eat a balanced diet, reduce your sugar intake and exercise more.

There’s a great write up on the row here... I’d really advise you read it, even if you already on a low-sugar diet.