Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Sugar rush: The secrets of hidden sugar revealed

According to recent reports, the number of people worldwide with diabetes has quadrupled since 1980, with an estimated 422 million adults living with the disease in 2014. Globally, diabetes and higher-than-optimal blood glucose together caused 3.7 million deaths.

Whilst society is turning a blind eye on the harrowing effects of sugar, Dr Robert Lustig is putting more fizz into the debate by educating people on the harmful effects of sugar. Lustig who has become a viral YouTube sensation after educating people about sugar says, “fat is going down, whilst sugar is going up”. He attributes this problem to food companies which are taking advantage of the sugar addiction.

When most people diet, they opt for low fat, sugar free products. However, unbelievably, this actually causes more harm than good to our bodies. Studies have shown that dry fruits which some people opt for as a healthy snack can contain unfathomable amounts of sugar. A quarter of dried cranberries can contain up to 29 grams of sugar, compared to fresh cranberries which only contain 4 grams of sugar. 

Scientists have issued a stern warning to consumers to be vigilant on food items with the synonyms ‘ose’ on food labels. Although they come across as very fancy names, it is difficult to detect their harmful nature. Fructose, maltose, lactose, sucrose, galactose, glucose, dextrose are no different from sugar as they are actually a sugar content disguise. According to the ‘Hungry for Change’ website, this is done to reduce the calorie content, meaning some of the calorie content pasted on food labels is not the true reflection of the actual calories. 

Consumers are also encouraged to be vigilant as some food companies are in the habit of falsifying the amount of sugar that is contained in their products. For example, “if a manufacturer wants to sweeten up a certain brand of crackers, it can either do this using 15 grams of “sugar” or, 5 grams of “malt syrup,” 5 grams of “invert sugar” and 5 grams of “glucose”. 

The best sugar alternative which is by far the healthiest option is stevia which originates from South America. It is mostly suitable for diabetics and those who want to lose a few calories. 

Another option is coconut palm sugar which is produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm.

There are also some suitable sugar alternatives for baking, which can help stow our guilt when we are having that slice of cake or cookie. Blacktrap molasses is the go to sugar option for baking plus they are a good source of iron and calcium. And of course the best source of sugar that is accessible in almost every store is raw honey (not processed), which consists of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and carbohydrates. 


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