Sugar is something which concerns me deeply.
As a campaigner for those of us who live with allergies and anaphylaxis, it’s inevitable that I will come across people who have diabetes. This condition is closely associated with sugar.
Those who live with this condition – especially Type 1 diabetes – are very much like me. They have to monitor and consider and contemplate their food all day every day to stay well. They can’t just grab a snack and go without considering the effect on their blood sugar levels.
We have to start to address this issue more seriously as a society as sugar is so closely linked to rising cases of diabetes and obesity. It’s not just allergies which are on the rise.
This week marked World Diabetes Day and in the USA November is Diabetes Awareness Month so it’s topical to talk about this right now.
You may be asking if we use sugar in our products at my company Creative Nature – and the answer is yes. However we always consider what type of sugar we’re using and how much. We always think ‘less’ rather than ‘more’.
For example our Gnawbles are up to 43 per cent less in sugar than their competitor products – do take a look here – https://www.creativenaturesuperfoods.co.uk/product-category/type/gnawbles/
Our Protein Bars and Raw Fruit Oaties contain vegetable glycerine, which is another healthier option, compared to refined sugars. You can find them here – https://www.creativenaturesuperfoods.co.uk/product-category/type/protein-crunch-bars/
Do I eat sugar?
Let’s be clear, I eat sugar on a daily basis yet the more I look at it the more I realise we have to start to tackle our addiction to sugar as time goes by. Sugar generally offers empty calories and according to campaigner and diet expert Dr Zoe Harcombe there are zero vitamins or minerals in sugar.
We have to train ourselves to eat less sugar and that means training our brains to stop craving sugar. It’s estimated this can take up to ten days and then, if you’ve tried it, you’ll know that the taste of other foods can change and deepen. It’s as if sugar can actually impact what we taste and how we taste it!
Why do we need to reduce our sugar intake?
Here are just a few facts around diabetes which should illustrate my point:
- 1 in 10 over 40 year olds, live with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.
- There are 3.8 million people living with a diagnosis of diabetes and 90% of those are Type 2.
- Almost 1 million more people living with Type 2 who don’t know they have it which would bring the number to around 4.7 million people have diabetes in UK
And here’s another thought-provoking claim – from Dr Harcombe:
- In 1972, 2.7 per cent of men and women in the UK were classed as obese.
- By 2050 it’s estimated 90 per cent of us will be classed as obese.
Is this all the fault of sugar?
I’m not a scientist or a statistician however I do feel that sugar must play a very big role in us becoming larger and larger.
Evidence does show that sugar is a very powerful food which reacts powerfully with the brain and creates cravings, high & lows which can inform our behaviours and our eating habits. Sugar is a hard habit to break.
Over the decades, way before I was born, sugar became such an integral part of the development of processed foods. Sugar is not all bad in my book. Processed foods, which often contained sugar, way back when gave women a break from the mundane roles they had in the past when they often had to spend their time cooking for their families from scratch day in and day out. Remember that phrase ‘chained to the kitchen sink’?
Our more modern life style means that having one person who stays at home all of the time being responsible for the home, cooking, cleaning and caring is rarely practical or desirable – and probably not affordable with the cost of living these days.
Yet along the way we seem to have lost a sense of proportion around this. The balance tipped a long, long time ago. We don’t really even understand how much sugar is in the food we eat and if that sugar is good or bad.
What is good sugar and what is bad sugar?
Good sugars are found in whole, unprocessed foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
Bad sugar is the ‘added’ sugar we add to our coffee, use in baking, sauces, ready-made meals and sweet fizzy drinks.
Even though the sugars in the following foods occur naturally, they can still impact those with diabetes.
Syrups (such as maple, agave and golden)
Nectars (such as blossom)
Unsweetened fruit juices
The recommendation is that sugars should not make up more than 5% of the energy you get from food and drink each day.
Adults should have no more than 30g of this type of sugar a day – which equates to roughly, seven sugar cubes.
Sugar is also found naturally in milk, fruit and vegetables, but does not count as so-called free sugars.
However, according to the NHS, no sugar is good sugar. It is about the amount of sugar you consume in your day to day diet. Segmenting this sugar from that sugar is not seen as being helpful.
My point in talking about this is not to lecture anyone about how much sugar they eat – it’s just about being more educated.
The statistics around diabetes and obesity are undeniable and at Creative Nature we do take this seriously and consider every ingredient which goes into our products.
If you want to find out more about diabetes visit https://www.diabetes.org.uk
If you want to find out more about the work of Dr Zoe Harcombe visit https://www.zoeharcombe.com
Follow me on: