“The recommendations to reduce the intake of free sugars and to do so throughout the life course are based on analysis of the latest scientific evidence.
World Health Organization 2015
Sugar is hidden (LoopJamaica, 2016, June 13) in a lot of foods that we eat. It’s the go-to additive of choice for most companies who want their product to sell and may come in different forms:
There is a positive correlation between hidden sugar consumption and diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and even ADHD (Deer, 2016, July 26).
For this reason, many Americans are going natural, which augers well for companies such as Grace Kennedy (Deer, 2016, May 1) to benefit from the sale of Healthy options such as Aloe Vera Juice.
So since sugars exist in different forms and are in everything we eat, how do you spot and measure your hidden sugar consumption?
How to measure sugars – Conversion between Teaspoons and Grams
First, you have to know how sugar is measured. Most food processors that state the amount of sugar on their labeling usually use one of two (2) measures:
To convert between the two (2), use the following conversion:
- 4 grams of sugar = 1tsp
Once you’re aware of this conversion, you’ll realize that a lot of foods have a lot of sugar in them:
- 16oz bottle of soda has 42 grams or 10.5 teaspoons of sugar
- 20oz Gatorade has 36 grams of sugar or 9 teaspoons of sugar
But how much sugar is too much?
Free sugar vs Intrinsic sugar – All are Equal but some more Equal than others
According to the World Health Organization there are two (2) categories of sugars:
- Free sugar
- Intrinsic sugar
Free sugar, also called added sugars by manufacturers, includes monosaccharides and disaccharides. This is mainly Sucrose and Fructose in the form of HSCS (High Sucrose Corn Syrup), HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup).
It also includes controversial artificial sugars such as Aspartame, which is found in sweeteners such as Splenda. HSCS and HFCS are often extracted from fruit juices, fruit juices concentrates, honey and syrups and then added in excess to food, allowing food manufacturers to declare the natural sugars.
Identify sugar in the products you consume is best achieved by learning some of the most common names used for sugar:
- Anhydrous dextrose
- Brown sugar
- Cane juice
- Corn syrup
- Crystal dextrose
- Evaporated corn sweetener
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Highfructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Liquid fructose
- Malt syrup
- Maple syrup
- Pancake syrup
- Raw sugar
- Sugar cane juice
- White granulated sugar
True Natural Sugars, or intrinsic sugars, are found only in whole fruits and vegetables; due to their low concentration, fruits often taste bitter and research shows that they have no adverse health effects.
In fact the World Health Organization in 2015 recommend intrinsic sugars over foods with Free or added sugars, as when added sugars exceed energy intake by 10%, there is a higher rates of dental caries.
To quote the World Health Organization: “This evidence shows, first, that adults who consume less sugars have lower body weight and, second, that increasing the amount of sugars in the diet is associated with a comparable weight increase. In addition, research shows that children with the highest intakes of sugarsweetened drinks are more likely to be overweight or obese than children with a low intake of sugar sweetened drinks”.
In the case of Fructose, the daily recommendation for added sugar is about 25 grams and 6 teaspoons according to the American Heart Association. This works out to 100 calories worth of energy.
So are all sugars equal?
The dangers of Fructose – More addictive than Cocaine
Fructose in HFCS is not the same as fructose in fruits. For one, HFCS is more concentrated, far above the amount you’re get from a fruit.
Also HFCS has a higher glycemic index, causing blood sugar level to spike tremendously. This is way above the 25 grams and 6 teaspoons level recommended by the American Heart Association and create a lot of problems for humans.
These problems include:
- Unhealthy changes in liver function,
- Unhealthy changes in triglyceride levels
- Unhealthy changes in insulin sensitivity
- Fructose being harder to digest
- Overeating and weight gain
Excess Fructose also affects people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome more than other sugars. Excess sugars will eventually lead to lifestyle diseases such as diabetes or obesity. Excess Fructose also creates a dependence on Sugar due to a dopamine dependence.
Essentially Sugar is more addictive than cocaine.
So which sugars are safe?
World Health Organization says less Sugars – Intrinsic Sugar replacements
The general consensus among most health professionals as well as the recommendation of the World Health Organization is that you eat less foods with Added sugars and substitute in more foods with Intrinsic Sugars.
As eating fruits and honey to satisfy your sweet tooth, however, is very expensive but worth the effort.
The health benefits to removing added sugars from your diet will become obvious the longer you stop eating foods that contain them:
- Weight loss
- Improved memory
- Better sleep
- Improved bowl movements
So how do you satisfy you sweet tooth addiction? This handy table below will help you choose foods with more intrinsic Sugars that have a low concentration and a lower glycemic index.
Thus avoiding eating excess Added sugars is dependent on knowing the different forms sugar takes as well as the composition of sugar in foods. Americans are slowly becoming more health conscious, switching to healthy alternatives such as Aloe Vera Juice from Grace Kennedy (Deer, 2016, May 1).
Using these alternative sweeteners will guarantee you the same level of sweetness in your food with less of the negative long term side effects associated with Sugars.
- Deer, L. (2016, July 26). Why French approach to ADHD points to Sugars and Food Additives. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2016/07/26/usa-france-adhd/
- Deer, L. (2016, May 1). How @Gracekennedy Aloe Vera Sinkle Bibles American Health Drinks in 2016. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/gracekennedy-aloe-vera-american-health-drinks/
- LoopJamaica. (2016, June 13). We are eating too much sugar: Learn how to spot what’s hidden. Retrieved from http://www.loopjamaica.com/content/we-are-eating-too-much-sugar-learn-how-spot-whats-hidden