Lose the Sugar, Lose the Weight
As part of the Fitness Together Healthy Eating Plan, let’s take a closer look at sugar.
Sugar, when consumed and not used immediately for energy, is stored and hence the weight gain. But it is not only the calories that are a worry, too much sugar can also increase the risk of cancer, heart failure, diabetes, osteoporosis and have a toxic effect on the liver.
Foods rich in fibre, fat and protein make you feel full, sugar, on the other hand, just gives you the calories, but not the feeling that you've had enough. So it makes sense to cut out sugar-laden foods that are low in nutrition and easy to overeat – soft drinks, cakes, pastries, sweets. If you do like a dessert after a meal, go for yoghurt instead of cake, at least that way you will be getting calcium and protein as well, rather than just calories alone. But be aware, the sugar content can vary greatly between brands, so check the food labels.
We also need to be aware of the hidden sugars. Manufacturers are filling our foods with unnecessary sugar, things like pasta sauces, tomato sauce, fat free dressing, marinates and even some breads can contain lots of sugar that just don’t need it. This is where we need to check food labels for added sugar, the higher on the list of ingredients, the greater the percentage sugar content.
We know there is a lot of sugar in soft drinks, ice creams and pastries but, interestingly, do we know exactly how much sugar there actually is? A can of fizzy pop can contain around eight teaspoons of sugar! A third of the recommended daily sugar intake in young adults! It was widely reported, just before Christmas, about the amount of sugar in the speciality coffees. They varied from around 30g (over 7 teaspoons) to a staggering 100g, that’s around 25 teaspoons! In a cup of albeit nice coffee, that can be more than your recommended daily intake in one hit! If you do have to indulge, go for a smaller size and try going skinny, without the whipped cream and syrups, you will still have a nice cup of coffee minus the shed loads of sugar! Increased awareness has to be the key, ask about the sugar content and read the food labels.