Not only is there hidden sugar in pretty much everything we eat, but the sugar levels of these products are constantly on the rise. The Best You has put together some key facts and figures to really drive home what an important issue this is.
- The British are now the fattest people in Europe and we are getting fatter. In the UK more than 60 per cent of adults and 30 per cent of children are either obese or overweight. Being overweight or obese can lead to a wealth of health problems, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
2. There is absolutely no need for added (refined) sugar in the human diet, yet the average UK adult consumes 36kg of it per year. The vast majority of this is hidden in prepared food, such as ready meals, ketchup and even bread.
3. By now, it’s known that Coca-Cola is one of the most sugary drinks with a staggering nine teaspoons of refined sugar in just one can. But what isn’t as known is that Coca-Cola has been increasing the amount of sugar included in the drink steadily since the launch of the infamous soft drink, and our sugar consumption has increased by 40 per cent. According to an article in The Guardian, “In 1822 American adults consumed the amount of sugar contained in one can of soft drink every five days. Now on average every adult consumes that much every seven hours.”
4. In the UK alone, more than 3.5 million of us are thought to have type 2 diabetes – and the numbers are growing fast. Money spent by the NHS on type 2 diabetes treatments is costing £8.8 billion a year, and it is set to rise to £15 billion by 2035. In fact, type 2 diabetes and other obesity related diseases could bankrupt the NHS.
5. Action on Sugar, a group of specialists concerned with sugar and its effects on health, is successfully working to reach a consensus with the food industry and Government over the harmful effects of a high-sugar diet. They say that cutting the amount of sugar in our foods and drinks will significantly curb obesity and its related illnesses, saving the NHS up to £50 billion a year.
6.Sugar has been controversially likened by some academics to addictive drugs such as tobacco and cocaine. According to an article in Nature magazine, nutritionist, author and sugar warrior, Robert Lustig, said, “Take, for instance bans on smoking in public places and the use of designated drivers, not to mention airbags in cars and condom dispensers in public bathrooms. These simple measures – which have all been on the battleground of American politics – are now taken for granted as essential tools for our public health and well-being. It’s time to turn our attention to sugar.”
7. Every day, we eat things that are packed with sugar, going way beyond the NHS’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). For a man it is recommended that he have no more than 70g (seven teaspoons) of sugar per day, while women are recommended no more than 50g (5 teaspoons) per day. To give you an idea of the amount of sugar we are taking in on a daily basis, a tall Starbucks caramel Frappuccino contains 11 teaspoons of sugar, while a bowl of Kellogg’s Frosties contains four teaspoons of sugar. If you are a woman who consumes both of those things on the same day, that is three times your sugar RDA without any nutrition.