Category: Heart Disease

Sugar: Should We Exclude It From Our Diet?

Sugar has received a very bad press in recent years, particularly in the light of its negative impact on human health. For many people, sugar is a core part of their diet and it could be said that many of us eat far too much of it. Most people are probably aware that it is bad for their teeth and can increase their risk of being impacted by certain diseases, including diabetes. Sugar is pumped into most ready meals and our sweet tooth means that we also consume it in cakes and cookies. Sugar intake has increased hugely in recent years and it is directly correlated with the rise in diabetes as well as obesity and other health problems. Many dieticians and health experts suggest that, ideally, we should eliminate sugar from our diet. The World Health Organization (WHO) wants to cut global intake by 50%. This is quite a challenge. However, should we eliminate it from our diet?

The effect of too much sugar on our body:

It is not all negative. After all, some sugar is absolutely necssary for our daily functioning. It is for example a major source of ‘fuel’ for our bodies. It gives us the energy that we require to keep going through the day. However, ‘excess’ sugar (once we have reached our necessary amount of calories for the day) is converted and stored as fat. Sugar is addictive and so the more we eat the more we want to eat. It is a vicious cycle.

Should we and how do we get rid of sugar from our diet?

Unfortunately it is not just as simple as cutting the white stuff out of our diet. After all, we need sugars for energy and we have become so used to taking it in through bread and other products that major changes in our shopping habits would be required. The good news is that fruit, dairy products and nuts all have some sugar in them. They also have health benefits which we do not want to lose. For example, they include a host of vitamins that are necessary for good health. The answer is to cut out processed foods in favor of fruits, vegetables and other ‘healthy’ sugars.

Of course, obesity and diabetes are not going to go away over night. It is going to take a huge cultural change to shift consumption patterns. However, we have to start at some point and it is about education as much as anything else. We all know that we should cut sugar from our lives, but the difficult bit is actually doing it.