Sugar is THE hot topic in the world of health and nutrition at the moment, with huge media attention homing down on sugar (you may have seen BBC’s “The Truth About Sugar”) which has quickly become the devil of our diets.
To kick things off let’s start with some statistics:
- In 1993 13% of men and 16% of women were obese – in 2011 this has risen to 24% for men and 26% for women. (NHS, 2013)
- Out of children attending reception class (aged 4-5 years) during 2011-12, 9.5% were obese. (NHS, 2013)
- In the UK, 64% of adults are classed as being overweight or obese. (BBC, 2014)
Interesting or scary? I’d say the latter. However if current trends continue those percentages are only going to increase! And these statistics suggest sugar, as one of the main contributors to our ever increasing ill health. Now we have some statistics; let’s look at sugar and the role it has to play in our diets.
The table sugar we know of is a Disaccharide (simple carbohydrate) it is digested and broken down into glucose where it is used for energy and storage in the liver and muscles. This process is very quick, making sugar our most easily utilised fuel to create energy. Fat and protein take much longer to digest and release energy.
Why is sugar perceived as being so bad you ask? The body seems to love the sweet stuff! Well a scope of common sense is needed here, and the realisation that we are consuming too much sugar, knowingly or not. Some sugar can have a place in our diets, but excessive use (most people’s intakes) will lead to fat storage and ill health.
Sugar is a fast acting source of energy therefore can be a very useful tool for keen runners or endurance athletes. These guys are exercising regularly for over 90 minutes at a time so they deserve it in my opinion. However anything less than that 90 minute benchmark (of exercise) means you can survive just fine with a good meal beforehand, and water throughout.
There is no evil in sugar per se, so it should not be demonised. Where the problem lies however, is its rate of consumption when set against our current activity levels, this is what’s contributing to Obesity, Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes and other such horrible diseases.
Sugar in conjunction with our ever increasing sedentary lifestyles, lack of exercise, low sport participation, love of alcohol, the influence of technology and the convenience of motorised transport are all contributors to our poor health and flabby belly’s.
A final thought is for our understanding of what is good nutrition, with a minefield of misleading advertisement and marketing campaigns from the major food chains, these guys at the top are influencing us greatly. Next time you go to buy something because it’s a slow releasing carbohydrate, or claims to “help maintain a healthy heart” (they usually have green banners also) take a second to ask how is this healthy? Then ask who is telling you this information? A professional who deals with nutrition or (more than likely) a company selling their product?
To stay on the safe side of those statistics earlier in this blog, try reducing your sugar consumption (NHS recommend no more than 70g a day for men and 50g for women) and combine this with 30-45 minute exercise sessions 3-4x a week. Eat plenty of vegetables and increase your protein intake such as meat, fish and poultry.
A couple of basic changes for you there that will improve cholesterol levels, skin conditions such as eczema and most importantly, shift those inches off the waistline.
If you need any more help in regards to your health, fitness and nutrition, then keep scrolling through our website to see how we can help you.
“Stay strong, stay healthy”