Many of us are addicted to sugar and are consuming a high daily intake without even realising it. Sugar is to blame for type II diabetes, obesity and tooth decay. It has come under fire recently as the main culprit of many of the health issues facing our overweight generation and the most dangerous thing about it, is that it is often hidden in foods without us realising. There are of course the very obvious foods that we know are packed with sugar such as fizzy drinks and your favourite chocolate bar but in today’s article, we want to look at the foods in your fridge and cupboard store that aren’t the usual suspects but are guilty of deceiving customers.
Tomato Ketchup brands its bottles with a healthy image of a tomato and green leaves suggesting nourishment and health. Similarly fruit smoothies and fruit cereals go for the obvious options of using images of fruits and grains to depict wellness and vitality. These are the images that quickly associate foods with health in the consumers’ minds and without glancing at the labelled content we are quick to assume these products are wholesome and do not feature added sugar. These are the type of culprits we want to look at in more detail in this article as they have a surprisingly high sugar content.
To put this article into context, the World Health Organisation has halved its sugar consumption guidelines from 10% of recommended calorie intake to just 5%. What does this mean for you? It means that the average consumption for an adult should not exceed six teaspoons per day. So that one can of coca cola, with up to ten teaspoons could be almost double your intake in one fell swoop. Considering the average UK adult already consumes up to twelve teaspoons per day it isn’t going to be an easy task to bring these levels down to within guidelines, especially if we aren’t even aware of what our daily food staples contain.
Read on for examples of the non-obvious foods that are contributing to your 5% intake without you even knowing!
Heinz Variety (15 ml): 1 teaspoon
(An average bottle size of 605ml contains 40 teaspoons of sugar!)
2. White Bread
A standard loaf (800g): 8 teaspoons
3. Fruit Juice
An Innocent Pure Fruit Smoothie Strawberries & Bananas (250ml): 7 teaspoons
4. Low fat yoghurt
Yeo Valley Family Farm 0% fat vanilla yoghurt (150g): 5 teaspoons
5. Pasta Sauce
A jar of Dolmios sauce (500g): 5 teaspoons
Bulmers Original Cider (56p ml): 5 teaspoons
Kellogg’s Special K (30g): 3 teaspoons
8. Baked Beans
Branston’s variety (205g): 3 teaspoons
9. Your everyday-pick-me-up
Starbucks’ caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream and skimmed milk: 11 teaspoons
10. Salad Creams
Heinz (15ml): 0.7 teaspoons
What we have listed here is purely a snapshot of the hidden sugars lurking in some of our favourite foods. The aim is to simply open consumers’ eyes to the dangers of packaged and processed foods and to equip people with the awareness to begin checking food labels and taking a much deeper interest in what they are eating on a daily basis.
An important step, which will greatly help with increasing awareness is to make food labels much clearer and easier to decipher. At the moment it is hard to understand and make sense of the gram content on the packaging of many of our favourite foods. Until this important change is made, we leave you with an important metric, which should help you to calculate your sugar intake: one teaspoon is equal to roughly 4 grams of granulated white sugar.
By remembering this guideline, you will help control and limit your intake to just 6 teaspoons, the new daily-recommended intake.
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