Need Another Reason To Slash Sugar?
We used to think fat was the enemy. How wrong we were. During the “fat-free” craze of the 1980s and 1990s, food manufacturers started marketing reduced-fat this, and fat-free that, and we all congratulated ourselves on how virtuous we were being. Problem was, to make their products more palatable, food manufacturers added carbohydrates to their newly reformulated products. As in sugar. Lots and lots of sugar.
Now we know, from rapidly mounting, undeniable evidence, that simple carbohydrates wreck havoc in the body. They boost hunger, drive overeating, modify the body’s ability to burn sugar for energy, affect the body’s propensity to store excess calories as fat, and eventually render insulin ineffective in the body. In the amounts we commonly consume it, sugar is toxic. Quit worrying about fats. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from plant foods are not bad for you. They’re even good for you. Get enough in the diet and you’ll probably eat less overall.
Sugar is implicated in all the major “lifestyle” diseases that plague us in the United States, and in other developed countries. And here’s another reason to drop sugar from your repertoire: sugar drives tooth decay.
“Tooth decay is a serious problem worldwide and reducing sugars intake makes a huge difference,” says Aubrey Sheiham, Emeritus Professor of Dental Public Health, University College London. “We need to make sure that use of fruit juices and the concept of sugar-containing treats for children are not only no longer promoted, but explicitly seen as unhelpful. Food provided at nurseries and schools should have a maximum of free sugars in the complete range of foods amounting to no more than 2.5% of energy,” added colleague, Philip James, Honorary Professor of Nutrition at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and past President World Obesity Federation.
“The food industry should be told that they should progressively reformulate their products to reduce or preferably remove all the sugars from their products. New food labels should label anything above 2.5% sugars as ‘high’. Given the politics of big business, the most governments may do is to reduce the limit from 10% to 5% but our paper suggests that it should be 2.5%.”
Sheiham A1, James WP. A reappraisal of the quantitative relationship between sugar intake and dental caries: the need for new criteria for developing goals for sugar intake. BMC Public Health. 2014 Sep 16;14(1):863. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-863.