Is Sugar Really That Bad Or Toxic For You?
How much sugar should you consume, how much is too much and what are the foods we should avoid in light of too much sugar?
To be honest, it’s driving me nuts all this sugar hate. I offered a Personal Trainer I know a jelly bean of mine the other day, he scrunched his nose up, turned his head away and even gave me the hand, “That’s sugar!”. Wow, what a genius. And for goodness sake, calm down! A polite, no thank you would have been sufficient! (Whatevs, I didn’t want to give you one anyway!).
What’s your sugar limit?
The fact is, we do eat too much sugar these days. We’re not really supposed to consume much more than 50 grams of sugar per day (which is about 12 teaspoons), but it’s estimated that we consume at least double this amount.
To give you a rough idea of how much 50g of sugar is, here are some food sources with their respective sugar contents.
Good & Bad foods for sugar content
I haven’t listed too many foods because the only foods you really have to be concerned about with high sugars is processed and packaged foods; in which case the sugar content should be written on the nutrition panel. As a simple rule of thumb, when your buying processed/packaged foods, foods regarded as high in sugar will have more than 20g of sugar per 100g. Foods considered low in added sugars contain less than 5g of sugar per 100g. So look for that on the nutrition panel (under the ‘per 100g’ section).
Think of all that sugar in the processed and convenient foods we consume and the hidden sugars in all the packaged foods we eat – check the nutrition panels on everything you eat for the day and see how much sugar you consume on a daily basis, I’m sure you’ll be in for a shock! Don’t forget to include the sugars in the sauces etc that you add to your meals!
I definitely agree that we eat way to much sugar. But I don’t believe sugar is the bad guy. We are the bad guys for eating too much of it. If most of your diet consists of processed, convenient and packaged foods, is your diet healthy overall? I wouldn’t think so. If your diet does consist of all of the above, is sugar the only bad, toxic thing in your diet? Probably not. Think preservatives, additives, flavour enhancers, trans fats, thickening agents and all the other stuff manufacturers throw in the mix.
On the other hand, if your diet is pretty healthy overall, meaning you really only eat whole foods which are as close to their natural state as possible (think vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats), do you think that a little bit of sugar is really going to hurt (like a jelly bean or two?!?).
So cutting all sugar out of your diet completely isn’t necessary (unless you have a condition that sugar affects). The thing that does frustrate me though is that it has even come to the point that some even say to cut out fruit from the diet completely… REALLY?
My consult the other day went something like this:
Me: “Why don’t you swap your morning biscuits for a piece of fruit and a small handful of nuts?”
My client: “Fruit? But that’s still sugar?”
Are we really putting fruit in the same category as biscuits (aka, added sugars) now? Has nutrition really come to this? I am disappointed.
If this is the way our thought processes are going these days with nutrition, then we can cut water from our diet. Because it could kill us. Yep. Look up: Hyponatremia. Some nutrition guru could easily mount a case for water being deadly by selectively quoting scientific research. So if this happened, would you cut water out from your diet completely? No, you’re smarter than that! Would you continue to drink it in moderation? I’d hope so!
I enjoy a sugary treat every now and then, but that’s the key, every now and then. Try not to consume more than 50g of sugar per day and try to make sure the sugar that you are consuming is coming from natural sources (i.e. fruit!). Basically what I am trying to get at is… reduce the processed crap and eat whole foods!