Australians eat an average 22 kilograms of sugar per year!
We don't advocate that everyone needs to completely quit or remove sugar but we do have a problem. Sugar is everywhere and we’re eating way too much. The WHO recommends we limit intake of added sugars to 6 teaspoons per day for optimal health.
So how what’s the difference between added sugar and natural sugar?
Sugars are a natural part of many foods, like fruit, vegetables and even milk.
But not all sugars are equal.
Fructose is the sugar found in fruit. It’s what makes fruit yummy and is behind our taste for sugar generally.
Back in caveman days, fructose was a rare treat – something we got to eat only occasionally. Our bodies evolved to quickly store the calories in fructose as fat for later use.
In its natural form – for example in an apple or a grape - fructose comes with a lot of fibre and water. These help us feel full, telling our bodies when it’s time to stop.
But many processed foods add fructose removed from these other substances. The result is a food that our bodies just haven’t evolved to deal with – and one we can eat and eat, without feeling full.
If a sugar occurs naturally – like the fructose in an apple or the lactose in milk – it shouldn’t be a problem. Nature has already supplied the fibre and water that will let our bodies know when we’ve had enough.
But when sugar is extracted and added to processed foods, we find it difficult to stop, we overload our bodies and it gets stored as fat.
One simple rule can help here: avoid added sugar by eating real food.
Learn more about added sugar here.