Are you reading this blog drinking a cuppa? No? Nip and get one then I'll wait for you; tea or coffee it doesn't matter.
Right, now you're back from the kitchen, (or the counter, if you are in a posh coffee shop) shall we talk about sugar? It's always in the news along with rising obesity levels, Type 2 diabetes and tooth decay. Only this month, Public Health England launched a child obesity plan to tackle the problem head on.
The drink you've just fetched, Can I ask how many sugars did you put in? None? One? Two? Three but didn't stir it as you don't like it too sweet?
A spoon of sugar weighs around three grams, so at the very most you put nine grams of sugar in it, more likely though, none, three or six. Not excessive amounts (although if you put nine grams in you could do with reducing it a bit). A can of full sugar, 'fizzy pop' or 'soda pop' for any Americans reading, contains twelve spoons of sugar or thirty-five grams - I hope you are shocked. Would you put twelve spoons of sugar in your coffee? no of course not. It's no wonder soft drinks are called hidden calories by dieticians on television programmes.
The guideline daily amount (G.D.A) for sugar for an adult is 90 grams (gms). Let's say you had the following for your lunch, the products are the market leaders standard products. The amount of sugar is in brackets.
One tin of tomato soup (20gms)
One can of 'normal' Cola (35 gms)
A luxury fruit yoghurt (18 gms)
Total 73 gms or 81% of the sugar G.D.A. That's 81% of your daily recommend sugar intake in one very small meal. The soup, which is meant to be savoury has seven spoons of sugar, a lot of other savoury products have more sugar than you think.
If you add a few biscuits and two sugars in all your cups of coffee throughout the day, then add a korma or sweet and sour as your evening meal, then you have probably at least doubled the G.D.A for sugar intake.
The fact that we live in an affluent society has helped create this sugar excess. My generation, the children born in the sixties and seventies were the first generation in history to have easy access to sugar due to higher wages and the end of the wartime rationing. The problem is getting worse, I'm not wealthy but I could go out right now and spend thirty pounds on chocolate, sweets and fizzy pop without affecting the household budget at all.
Is it a coincidence that another problem is hitting the NHS? Which is rotten teeth especially in children's milk teeth.
It proves that far too much sugar is in everything, even the 'natural' fruit bars aimed at promoting healthy snacking. Some of the problem will be bad parenting i.e. "He screams if I don't give sweets, what can I do?". But some of it will be down to parents picking what is being advertised as a healthy option, without reading the label.
So tooth decay is another reason we should boycott the high sugar rubbish foods. I'm not saying we should never have sweet sticky puddings but they should be an exception or a treat, not the norm.
What can we do about all this sugar? We can read the label, if it seems to have an excessive amount of sugar, leave it on the shelf and choose a lower sugar alternative or a different type of product altogether.
If high sugar products begin to get left on the shelves, it may send a message to the shops and manufacturers. We as consumers have the power to make supermarkets healthier places to shop.
This article is an adapted extract from The top 10 Amazon best selling (in the cycling and Disorders/Diseases categories) concise self help Ebook Sugar Beat: How I controlled Type 2 diabetes through cycling available at just £1.99 from Amazon. - http://tinyurl.com/SugarBeatBook
Simon's website - 'Simon Says..' can be found at http://simonelson.blogspot.co.uk/Suggest a correction