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Be vigilant of hidden sugar in food

  • June 10, 2016
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Sugar is popularly known as one of the three white poisons (others being milk and salt). Sugar is aptly called as ‘white poison’ as it badly affects on human body. The share of sugar consumption on global burden of obesity and related disorders is immense.

If we consume a can of cola, we consume sugar that is recommended for 3 and half days by WHO.

When we have sugar, the sugar gets digested and becomes glucose, which is absorbed into blood and reaches cells. For cells to utilize sugar, cells need insulin. So insulin is secreted following sugar intake. The leftover sugar is stored in the liver and around fat cells. If the sugar levels go down, a hormone called glucagon releases sugar from liver and fat.

But if we take too much sugar, body reacts differently. When we over consume sugar, there is over production of insulin, which makes sugar levels suddenly fall (as cells consume more sugar in reaction to insulin). There is delay between sudden fall in sugar levels and release of sugar from liver. During this delay we develop false craving for sugar. This makes our body addicted to sugar and we feel like consuming more and more sugar.

Thus, it is very important to avoid excess sugar consumption. During caveman days, when humans had to hunt for or gather their food, sugar was not readily available. They got sugar from sweet fruits, which provided instant energy to them. However, now a day there is sugar in everything that we consume.

Many food items that we consume like crisps, sugar sweetened beverages, sweet biscuits, cakes and desserts, sweet and savoury pastries and processed meats have sugar in them. Some food manufacturers mention presence of sugar in their product with quantity of sugar, some mention ‘sugar’ as one of the ingredients and some don’t mention presence of sugar in the product at al. It is important to be cautious about the amount of ‘hidden sugar’ we consume from these products.

World Health Organization recommends consumption of not more than 10 gm of sugar/day. However, we consume much more sugar than that as many food items contain sugar. For example, a can of cola has 35 gm of sugar (about 7 tea spoons). If we consume a can of cola, in a few minutes we consume sugar that is required for three and half days. To this, other food stuffs add sugar and perhaps we end up consuming at least 5 to 8 times more sugar in a day than body can handle.

Thus, when you consume food and beverages which are not freshly prepared at home, it is important to keep in mind the hidden sugar present in those food items and consume in moderation or low quantity based on sugar levels.

It is tough to fight sugar addiction, as it acts similar to drugs on brain but it is possible to fight it with close watch on ingredients of our food and with strong will power to avoid sugary stuff. After all avoiding sugar can prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other associated diseases.

The content developed by Scientific Angle Publications LLP

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purpose only. Please consult a qualified doctor before taking any decisions regarding recommendations in the article or for more information.

References:

1. Grieger JA, Wycherley TP, Johnson BJ, et al. Discrete strategies to reduce intake of discretionary food choices: a scoping review. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2016;13(1):57.

2. Eu J. The effects of sugar on health. Institute and faculty of Actuaries. May 2015. Available at https://www.actuaries.org.uk/documents/effects-sugar-health.