At the beginning of my research I wanted to list the good sugars and the bad sugars. After doing a lot of research, I’ve come to the conclusion along with many others that there is no such thing as ‘good sugar’. It’s more of a distinction between what’s bad and what’s REALLY bad!

There’s a lot of media coverage at the moment and quite rightly too. Today’s modern diet in the UK has changed remarkably in the last century. With the introduction of processed foods it’s now incredibly difficult to measure how much sugar we consume each day. As a result we have an increase in numbers of people who are obese, diabetic (type II), suffer with liver disease and heart disease.

The previous misconception was that fat makes us fat and we need to live on a diet that is low in fat. Since that recommendation was put in place in the 70′s, the rate of obesity and other relating illnesses has significantly increased. Why? Because when you take the fat out of something you often take away flavour. So what was put in place of the fat? Sugars and sweeteners!

How does the body deal with sugar?

The human body has two options when dealing with sugar. It can either burn it as energy or store it as fat.

When the body detects sugar, insulin is released from the pancreas. Insulin controls the blood in our sugar. The more sugar consumed the more insulin is released. If a high amount of insulin is released over a prolonged period of time, it can cause the body’s sensitivity to insulin to decrease, affecting your insulin resistance. Insulin resistance increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes amongst other diseases.

If it’s so bad should we eliminate sugar completely from our diet?

The body needs a certain amount of sugar for energy. Many factors such as the types of sugar you consume, activity levels and general dietary habits play a part so there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

Eating a well balanced diet deriving from natural foods and keeping processed foods to a very minimum along with exercising regularly is your best bet.

Sugar is more easily quantified in teaspoons but is listed in grams on food packaging which can be confusing.

So how many grams of sugar are in a teaspoon?

1 teaspoon of sugar equates to around 4g of sugar.

The World Health Organization recommends that we limit our intake of added sugars to no more than 10% of total calories. That comes to about 50g of sugar, or the equivalent of 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar for a person eating 2000 calories a day (the current GDA recommend that our sugar intake shouldn’t exceed 90g). The daily guideline for sugar consumption is 50g for adults, young children with a daily caloric intake of 1,200 to 1,400 calories shouldn’t consume any more than 4 teaspoons of added sugar a day. Children ages 4-8 with a daily caloric intake of 1,600 calories should consume no more than 3 teaspoons a day.

Pre-teen and teen years (with a caloric range of 1,800 to 2,000 a day) the maximum amount of added sugar included in his daily diet should be 5 to 8 teaspoons.

How much sugar is in…

Bread 1 slice 1.4 – 3g just under 1tsp
Can of soft drink 330ml can 34.98g just under 9 tsp
Fruit Shoot / Ribena / Capri Sun 200ml 18-21g 4-5 tsp
Fresh orange juice approx 200ml 20g 5 tsp
Baked beans average serving 10g 2.5 tsp
Cheerios Cereal 30g 12g 3 tsp

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