High consumption of added sugar is strongly linked to obesity, which is a risk factor for many health conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and chronic kidney disease.
There is also increasing evidence to suggest that added sugar increases the risk for metabolic syndrome and a fatty liver.
Rates of obesity are increasing rapidly with around two thirds of Australians said to be overweight and obese.
One of the main culprits is due to added sugar consumption, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages. These types of beverages make it easy to quickly consume a high number of calories. These calories are considered “empty” as they provide no nutrition and don’t deter from eating calories from food, therefore an individual consumes an extra amount of calories.
The average Australian consumes around 60 grams of sugar per day, which exceeds the recommended 25-30 grams according to the AHA.
Many Australians are over-consuming added sugar, and in some cases may not even realise.
When we think sugar we think chocolate, soft drinks, juices and processed food, however it can also be hidden in yogurts, cereals and sauces.
Some food and drink items and their sugar content:
• Coke, 600 ml – 64 grams
• Milkshake from McDonald’s, medium – 72 grams
• Starbucks hot chocolate, Grande – 48 grams
Unexpected places to find sugar:
• Chobani Greek Yogurt, Lemon – 17.3 grams
• Kellogg’s Just Right with ½ cup skim milk – 15.6 grams
• Coles fruit filled bars – 13 grams
Steps to take to reduce and limit added sugar intake:
• Read the nutrition information panel, choose products with less than five to 10 grams per serve.
• Read the ingredient list, the higher up the list sugar is, the more sugar the product contains.
• Be careful and educate yourself on the different names sugar can be disguised as on a label.
Sugar consumption can be an addiction!
An important message to take note of, is that over time you increase your intake, adding more and more as time goes by.
Take away point, start to monitor your intake to gain a better understanding of where you can reduce your sugar intake and better your overall health.
It all starts with educating yourself about sugar in your foods.
Candace Sciberras is a Dietitian at OnePointHealth.