The sugar debate continues

In my previous blog, Sugar, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly I wrote about what I, and many health experts in the westernised world, believe is causing ill health, disease and chronic illnesses, not to mention obesity; that being sugar.
Interestingly last week, we have seen a further development in how to tackle the health of our nation, with sugar being the No. 1 agenda item.  If you have been busy dealing with the day to day constraints of life as we know it, then you may not have managed to listen to some of the debates, read the newspapers or listened to the news; so here’s what you’ve missed in a nutshell.
Scientific advisers to the government signaled a war on sugar, with draft recommendations that would require radical changes to the British diet and recommended daily allowance ( RDA) of sugar. The advice, from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), is that no more than 5 % of daily calories should come from sugar, reduced from the current limit of 10%.  This is a 50 % reduction on overall sugar intake per individual, so safe to say this is something not to be taken lightly.  Dr Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said “Eating too much sugar is harming our health: excessive sugar intake leads to being overweight and obese, and consequently having a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and breast and colon cancer.” 
As a big part of my nutrition practice is made up of weight loss, cancer, diabetes management and inflammation related diseases, I for one welcome this review, and feel it cant come soon enough to allow us to understand how much sugar is safe, and how to stay within the RDA guidelines. Reducing sugar intake is most certainly a step in the right direction, but equally important is getting our nation to understand how much sugar is in the processed foods we consume. 

So what does this mean in practice?

  • The average woman should have no more than 5-6 teaspoons of sugar per day (25g) and the average male 7-8 teaspoons per day (35g)
  • Children aged 4 – 6 years of age should have no more than 19g and 24g for children up to adult life
  • A chocolate bar consists of, on average, 5-6 teaspoons of sugar, a can of Coca-Cola contains approx. 8-9 teaspoons, and a ‘child friendly drink, such as Capri Sun, contains 6 teaspoons of sugar; so you can see how easy it is to go over the recommended limits with a single food item, and that’s not taking into account any of your meals!

My tips for reducing sugar easily!

  • Swap sugary cereals, such as Special K, Cheerios, Cornflakes and even muesli, to more natural breakfast ideas. Porridge is a great way to fuel your body with very little sugar. Add some berries for taste rather than sugar.
  • Try and cook all your evening meals from scratch, as ready made meals have both hidden sugars and salt.
  • Swap chocolatey snack bars for more natural alternatives, such as Naked Bars, 25 g of Dark Chocolate (85% cocoa or more) or a handful of nuts and seeds.

Regardless of whether the recommended changes are agreed, my advice would be to challenge yourself to try and live within these limits, and start to become more aware of the sugar within the food choices you make. Clients both past and current see remarkable changes in how they feel, from increased energy, weight loss, blood sugar levels reducing and generally feeling healthier.

Bounty Balls Recipe (makes approx 10 balls)

* 1 cup finely shredded coconut

* 3 Tbsp. coconut oil

* 3 Tbsp. agave syrup

* ½ tsp. vanilla extract

* 1 ½ cup dark chocolate chips (use 90 % dark chocolate to melt if prefer)

Combine coconut, coconut oil, agave syrup & vanilla extract in a blender or food processor. Blend until well combined into a thick crumb.

Use your hands to mold coconut crumb into bite-sized balls. They should stick together nicely. Place the balls on a piece of wax paper.

Melt the dark chocolate and use a spoon to gently drizzle over each coconut ball.

Place in fridge for 2 hours  

If you feel as though you’re stuck in the sugar trap and want advice on how to regain your health, then help is at hand. I‘m offering a FREE 20 minute telephone consultation this month and have a FREE seminar on how to regain your health coming up in September. 
In the meantime, enjoy the attached sugar free recipe for Bounty Balls, which are a big hit with me and mine! Let me know how you like them or even send me a picture of your yummy bounty balls via Facebook.
To your good health!