Sugar: Is it really our new “Food Enemy Number One”?

2018. Enter beetroot lattes, hemp bliss balls and the sugar-free diet. These latest Melbourne cafe health treats are a harmless indulgence, but is sugar really our new “food enemy number one”? Are bananas, and other fruit high in naturally occurring sugars now a no-go zone?

The answer is actually no…. And that thinking so can just create extra food anxiety, which has an adverse effect on our health.

The sugar free diet is actually based on an arbitrary set of rules, and not on scientific evidence. The science behind sugar consumption has however been well researched by the World Health Organisation. This peak body established guidelines on recommended sugar intake in 2015, suggesting that people begin to reduce their daily intake of sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake (the equivalent of roughly 12 teaspoons), with a further reduction to 5% (or 6 teaspoons) providing additional health benefits. These guidelines don’t however include the sugars in fresh fruits and vegetables, and sugars naturally present in milk, because there is no reported evidence of the detrimental effects of consuming these sugars.

The key lies in limiting how much sugar you eat and drink, without over-stressing about it. Eating too much of any food (not just those high in sugars), without exercising will result in extra weight. And stress about it can create food fear, which actually has an adverse effect on our health. When stressed (about dieting or anything else in our lives), stress hormones such as cortisol are released, which can cause the body to store fat, particularly in the abdominal area!

So relax… and enjoy that banana smoothie, and mindfully savour the occasional chocolate brownie. It’s all good!

This is our considered but brief and light introduction to the topic. For further information please check out:
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/
https://theconversation.com/you-dont-need-to-quit-sugar-to-improve-your-health-92032
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/sugar