The Truth About Sugar: BBC Documentary Shows How 4 People Quit Their Daily 119-Teaspoon Sugar Habit

How Four People Quit Their Daily 119-Teaspoons Sugar Habit

Sugar is the big bad wolf of the diet world, but not that many of us know quite how to quit it or, in fact, what the downsides to a sugary diet actually are.

The Truth About Sugar documentary, aired on BBC One aimed to demystify some of the myths about sugar - namely, what food products secretly contain it - and demonstrate the impact it can make on your health if you reduce the amount you eat.

It charted the lives of Cara Patterson, Rick Shabilla, Audrey Cannon and Simon Gallagher, who consumed nearly 119 teaspoons of sugar between them a day. Three of them lost nearly six kilograms each after implementing a low-sugar diet, but Shabilla unfortunately decided to replace his Indian sweets habit with lager and was not as successful.

Simon Gallagher, Audrey Cannon, Cara Patterson and Rick Shabilla and presenter Fiona Phillips (centre)

Shabilla isn't alone in this - many people don't realise how much sugar alcohol has.

Writing about a sugar ban, the Guardian's Zoe Williams says: "Many drinkers think they don't have a sweet tooth; indeed, they are faintly derisive of people who do. In fact, they get all their sugar from alcohol and if they ever gave it a rest for even two days, they would realise they have an incredibly sweet tooth."

Most of them admitted they were hooked on sugar - Galllagher's downfall was fizzy drinks, Shabilla's was sweets, and Patterson admitted waking up and craving sugar.

"The worst time is I want sugar as soon as I wake up," she said. "Breakfast always contains something sweet, whether it's cake, biscuits or chocolate."

Cannon fell into the category of people who don't necessarily eat sweets but are actually getting their sugar in other, less likely ways - namely, convenience food. By swapping ready meals for home-cooked meals she dramatically changed her diet and body.

Talking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, sugar ban empress Sarah Wilson said: "Leaving aside the very serious health issues - cholesterol, fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and diabetes - I think the real problem with sugar is its addictiveness (some studies show it's more addictive than cocaine).

“We are prisoners to sugar, in part because we lack the hormone to tell us when we're eating we keep eating it and eating it (by contrast, we have hormones that tell us when we've eaten enough fat and protein). If we weren't so addicted, we wouldn't be killing ourselves with it...we'd have done something about it.”

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Starbucks caramel frappuccino with whipped cream (with milk)

Food And Drink With More Sugar In Than You Think

How much sugar does my drink have?

  • Wine is often consumed at dinner time alongside a meal but did you know that a large glass of wine (250ml) with 13% ABV can add 228 calories to your evening supper? This is similar to a Cornetto ice cream or two fish fingers. A standard glass of red or white wine (175ml) with 13% ABV could also contain up to 160 calories which is similar to a slice of Madeira cake.
  • A pint of lager with 4% ABV can contain 180 calories, similar to a slice of pizza.
  • One pint of cider with 4.5% ABV can contain 210 calories with some leading brands containing more – drink two pints and you’ve consumed the same amount of calories as a medium beef and onion pie.
  • A 275ml bottle of alcopop with 4% ABV can contain up to 171 calories, similar to a hot chocolate with whipped cream.
  • Adding mixers to spirits immediately ups the sugar content - think colas, lemonades, ginger beer, ginger ale and any kind of fruit juice.

Source: Drinkaware

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