Over the last two years there has been a great emphasis on the amount of sugar we are eating in our diets. Consuming too much sugar can have terrible side effects on our health. Type 2 diabetes has risen 60% in the last 10 years and is costing the NHS over 9 billion pounds and rising. Type 2 diabetes is classified as a lifestyle disease (our eating habits) in the majority of cases and something has to change.
Jamie Oliver has stepped up and decided to try and make a change to the way we view sugar and how we could help educate people to live healthy, happier lives. Jamie’s program Sugar Rush was an eye opener for many showing the effects of excess sugar in our diets. This blog isn’t discussing the science off sugar but providing an overview of a great program that some of you may have missed. Click on the link at the bottom of the page to view the programme.
Unfortunately sugar is everywhere, it is hidden in around 80% of our foods in the supermarkets and we often aren’t aware of them. Over the last 40 years we have been avoiding fat and consuming higher levels of sugar in our diets, this has had serious consequences. Sugar is hugely addictive and is often used in packaged, processed foods as it improves both taste and shelf life.
During the program there were some touching stories about the effects of excess sugar. One story that stood out for us was 13 year old girl with type 2 diabetes. They interviewed her about what it was like living with type 2 diabetes, it was very sad. She had to monitor her blood sugar twice a day and often felt isolated from her peers that she couldn’t eat the same foods as her friends. Type 2 diabetes was more common when we were in our 60’s. Now we are getting it as early as 13, which is terrifying. What most of us could relate to during this program was the confusion in our society about what is healthy food. The mother of this daughter felt that she was constantly trying different foods, claiming health benefits, only to find that her daughter was getting fatter and fatter. Food education is essential however; food manufactures, media and the government make it very difficult for us to understand. There were some alarming facts from the program that make you think about how serious this issue is.
1 in 5 children start primary school overweight or obese
3 in 5 children at the age of 11 are overweight or obese
7000 amputations each year in the UK due to diabetes (70,000 in Mexico)
It costs the NHS 9 billion pounds a year on diabetes alone
Kids need operations at the age of 5 to remove baby teeth due to tooth decay (excess sugar)
There are multiple reasons why we become fat, sick and overweight but sugar is certainly a factor. The next time you look on a food packet, remember that 4 grams of sugar is the equivalent to 1 teaspoon of sugar. We are recommended to consume less than 7 teaspoons of added sugar a day which most people are consuming three times that amount.
Jamie has decided to add tax to his sugary drinks in his UK restaurants. Small steps can start to make a difference. The money raised with this tax will hopefully be used to help educate people about healthy eating. Sugar is everywhere and can have serious consequences when eating in excessive amounts. The sugar companies are very powerful and influence many people. With the stats provided in this program and the NHS struggling, there is a need to change. Personal accountability is important but combining education, improving awareness we can start to make some significant changes.
At Body Conditioning we try and keep eating simple for people:
Eat fresh real food
Try and cook from scratch
Add variety to your weekly meals, food should be fun and exciting
Plan ahead, prepare to plan or prepare to fail
Don’t drink your calories (etc. sugary drinks)
Check out our recipes for healthy, tasty food. http://bodyconditioning.info/recipes/