The Dutch Diabetes Fund has started a sugar challenge (#suikerchallenge) this week. By doing so, The Dutch Diabetes Fund tries to make the Netherland’s residents aware of the amounts of sugar we’re consuming and which products contain (hidden) sugars.
A research conducted by the fund has found that every day, the average person consumes between 1.5 to 2 times more sugar than they need. Over consumption of sugar every day leads to weight gain and eventually to overweight and obesity. And those two, in turn, increases the risk of diabetes type 2 and other awful chronic diseases. That extra cookie doesn’t seem too much fun anymore, is it?
Most manufacturers aren’t promoting on their products in bold letters that it contains added sugar, and so, without noticing, we eat way more sugar than we need. In many cases, reading the ingredients list won’t do much help in understanding if the product contains added sugars or not, since it doesn’t always say ’sugar’ and often try to hide it by using pretty words like ‘honey’, ‘Fructose’, ‘Glucose’, etc. (The Dutch Diabetes Fund provides a list of over 50 words in Dutch that can be found on the ingredients list and are, in fact, SUGAR: https://www.diabetesfonds.nl/minder-suiker/tips/hoe-suiker-herkennen).
Often when we think of sugar, we think of added sugars. But we shouldn’t forget that natural sugars are still sugar. Naturally, eating sugar (or glucose) is and should be part of our diet – it helps in regulating the blood sugar in our body. But it is important to control the amount of sugar we are eating. As a thumb rule, it is recommended for adults to consume a maximum of 50-60 grams of sugar per day. Whether this sugar comes from fruit or from coke or a cookie, it doesn’t really matter. overconsumption of either fruit sugar or of a cookie will lead to the same effect: weight gain.
Let’s take a closer look at what we drink to find out how much sugar is there. Coke, for example, included 21 grams of added sugar per glass (200 ml) which comes down to about 85 calories (and that’s only from sugar). So when you consume 2 glasses of coke a day, you already almost reach your daily limit! And that is without even having any meal.
While we think fruit juices are innocent and healthy, they often contain just as much sugar as any other soft drink: for example, orange juice contains 17 grams of sugar per glass, and surprisingly enough, apple juice has a similar amount of sugar just like coke, 21 grams per glass. Therefore we suggest you stick to just grabbing one apple or an orange and have that instead of a glass of juice. In addition, you will also benefit from vitamins and fibers that get lost in the process of making the juice. So next you crave some juice, Go for the fruit instead! Another option would be adding a piece of fruit to your water, just to add some flavor.
Another sneaky product is the sauces we add to our salads and meals. Sauces contain lots of sugar, which adds up to our daily intake, without us even noticing it. Take barbecue sauce as an example, it contains easy between 15-32 grams of sugar per 100 grams of product, which sum up to 50-100 calories. You’ll probably also be surprised to discover that chili sauces contain even more added sugar, between 38-47 grams per a 100 grams of product!
And these are just a few examples. Added sugar can be found in basically any product we consume on a daily basis, yogurt with and without flavors contains between 6 to 20 grams of added sugar, energy bars: even the so-called ‘healthy’ ones like ‘nakd’, contain about 12-15 grams of sugar (even if, in this case, it’s not added sugars).
The bottom line is that we need sugar (or should I say glucose), but we shouldn’t have too much of it. So next time, before simply rushing to buying a product, just take a look at the ingredient list before. Try to see how much sugar it contains. Also, take a look at the nutritional values: specifically, at the added sugars. That will tell you exactly how much sugar you eat and if it’s really worth it.
So are you joining the challenge? Trying to go through a week without added sugars? Let us know how it goes!
A short list of Sugar Synonyms in English:
Beet sugar Fructose Mannitol
Brown sugar Galactose Maple sugar
Cane sugar Glucose Molasses
Corn sugar Honey Sorbitol
Corn syrup Invert sugar Sucrose
Dextrin Lactose White sugar