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Sweet As?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sweet As?

Most people know that a diet high in added sugars doesn’t promote good health and can lead to health conditions such as obesity and type-2 diabetes.  But what if you and your family are consuming more sugar than you realise? 

When you think of sugar you are probably thinking of cane sugar or sucrose.  Sucrose is the most common type of sugar we eat and it can be white, brown or raw - they are all essentially the same thing and are the ones we need to keep an eye on.  The sugars we don’t need to worry about are those that occur naturally in fruit, milk and grains; these come with other nutrients and need to be included in a healthy diet.

The current World Health Organisation guidelines indicate that 5% of your daily calorie intake should consist of added sugars.  This equates to approximately five or six teaspoons (25g) for women and seven or eight teaspoons (35g) for men.  Based on the latest nutrition survey, New Zealanders are consuming 27 teaspoons of total sugar per day.

So what can we do to reduce added sugars in our diet?

Spot the hidden sugar. 

Sugar is hidden in so many foods.  Low fat or diet products are a big offender.  They often contain added sugars to improve their taste in place of the fat.  Savoury foods such as canned soups or pasta sauces, salad dressings as well as BBQ, tomato and sweet chili sauce are all high in added sugars.  Fruit juice is also full of added sugars; a small 250ml glass of orange juice has at least 6 teaspoons of sugar.

During the Green Prescription supermarket tours we help people to understand the label of the products they are buying.  Ideally you want less than 10g of sugar per 100g.  Also we look at the ingredient list, words ending in ose such as glucose or maltose are added sugars.  Don’t trust a label that states no added sugar as it may still contain naturally added sugars such as fruit juice or honey.

Want to know more?

Consider joining the Green Prescription Programme.  A Green Prescription is a health professional’s written advice to a patient to be physically active, as part of the patient’s health management.  Sport Bay of Plenty’s Green Prescription programme involves a mix of physical activity opportunities, nutritional information and goal setting.  The right ingredients to get on track to a healthy lifestyle! 

For more information talk to your GP or contact your local Sport Bay of Plenty office. 

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