November shone a light on the impact of sugar on our diets. From sugar-laden soft drinks to more subtle ways sugar creeps into our diets, we take a look at how much sugar you may be consuming and the dangers it can pose.
A month for sugar awareness
13 – 19 November marked World Sugar Awareness Week which aims to raise awareness around the amount of sugar we actually consume.
A concerning statistic that World Sugar Awareness Week highlights here in Australia is that on average, Australians consume somewhere between 14-16 teaspoons of added sugars a day (a 600ml bottle of soft drink contains around 16 teaspoons of sugar).
14 November was World Diabetes Day. Diabetes is linked to diet, and an unhealthy, high sugar diet can often lead to the development of the condition.
Interesting – and alarming – facts from World Diabetes Day include:
- Close to half of those with diabetes don’t even know they have it
- 1 in 10 adults worldwide have diabetes
- Over 90% have type 2 diabetes
- In many cases, type 2 diabetes and its complications can be delayed or prevented by adopting and maintaining healthy habits
This article aims to shed light on just how much sugar you may be consuming and the implications it can pose.
The dangers of a sugary diet
A diet high in sugar can be dangerous to both your physical and mental health and contribute to a range of issues.
One of the most well-documented risks is the link between high sugar diets and the development of conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is where the body’s cells don’t respond effectively to insulin. This leads to elevated blood sugar levels known as hyperglycaemia, which can cause a range of severe health problems, especially if not managed properly.
A high sugar diet can also impact mental health.
Fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which are common when consuming sugary foods, can lead to mood swings, irritability, and fatigue.
This is sometimes referred to as a sugar crash in the hours after eating something sweet.
There is a growing body of evidence linking excessive sugar intake to risks of developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Some foods high in sugar to minimise or cut from your diet
30 Grams. Flavoured Coffee Drinks: Some of those canned or bottled coffee drinks can contain 30 grams of sugar or more. That’s nearly double the amount in a 600ml bottle of soft drink.
24 Grams. Fruit Juice: Certain juice can be surprisingly high in sugar, with some containing around 24 grams per cup.
15 Grams. Breakfast Cereals (per cup): Some may have 15 grams or more of sugar per cup, especially the sweetened ones.
Up to 12 Grams. Instant Soup: Some instant soup mixes may surprise you with added sugars, ranging from 4 to 12 grams of sugar per serving.
6 Grams. Barbecue Sauce (per tablespoon): Barbecue sauce can contain 6 grams of sugar or more per tablespoon.
Salad Dressings (2 tablespoons): Certain salad dressings can have around 6 grams of sugar per two-tablespoon serving.
And as for those sweet treats…
Up to 30 Grams. Pastries (1 piece): Pastries, such as croissants or danishes, can have 15-30 grams of sugar or more.
20-30 Grams. Ice Cream (1 cup): No surprises that ice cream can contain large amounts of sugar, depending on the flavour and brand.
15-30 Grams. Muffins (1 medium): Muffins can have a wide range of sugar content, but many contain around 15-30 grams of sugar or more. Homemade muffins are typically on the lower side when it comes to sugar content.
20 Grams. Cake (1 slice): A slice of cake can have varying sugar content, but it’s not uncommon for it to contain 20 grams of sugar or more.
10-20 grams. Cookies (2-3 cookies): Depending on the type and brand, cookies can range from 10 to 20 grams of sugar for a small serving.
A few others that may be alarming:
- Some cocktails contain up to 25 grams of sugar per serving.
- Energy drinks can contain around 38 grams per serving and many soft drinks reach 49 grams per serve.
Note that the above figures depend on brand and ingredients, so make sure you take a look at the labels of what you’re buying.
Are you monitoring the amount of sugar you consume?
Most of us would answer, ‘not as much as I should be’. If this sounds like you, it may be time to take a look at what you’re eating on a regular basis.
Things like sauces and dressings can really hide a lot of sugar and if you add in a sweet snack with a coffee in the morning, your sugar intake might be much higher than you realise.
Check-ups can help identify risks.
Regular check-ups are an important part of everyone’s health routine and can allow medical professionals to catch subtle signs before they turn into something more serious.
Speaking to a doctor during a check-up also gives you the chance to discuss your diet and lifestyle and get professional advice.
If it’s been a while since your last check-up, or you’ve been questioning your diet, book an appointment with us today.
Sugar intake at the end of the day
Like with many things in life, moderation is a valuable tool, but it can be hard to moderate sugar intake without knowing how much is in what you eat or how it’s affecting your body.
The next time you’re in the supermarket, take a look at the labels of what you’re buying, you might be in for a shock.
If you’re not sure how to do this, check out the advice here.
When eating out, it can be more difficult to know, but you can usually get an idea of the sugar content of what you’re ordering by giving it a quick Google search.
Sugar intake can really creep up, so make an effort to cut down your consumption.