In the last ten years governments around the globe launched huge campaigns against the tobacco industry and rightly so. Holding a cigarette in the United States became such a taboo; you might as well be holding a gun instead! Sugar has become the new tobacco killer and governments have done very little, if anything at all, to tackle this problem. Why?
Reason number 1 - On the experts' side, and that sadly includes some fitness experts as well as people in the medical field; this is simply down to pure ignorance. There is still a wide spread notion carried from 20 years ago, that we should, by all means, avoid fat.
Obesity is now the norm and not the exception in many parts of the world. Recent study shows that by 2050 the obesity level in children in the UK will jump from one in four to an astonishing one in two! And most of it is down to the sugar hidden in almost everything we eat or drink. Fat does not make you fat. Sugar does. And that's a fact. Having worked in the field for years, I have yet to come across a person who didn't lose weight when staying off sugar and sweeteners for as little as ten days but ate plenty of good fatty food instead. This is mainly because sugar has the evil ability to stall your metabolism often for up to a couple of days specially when consumed through alcohol. Your body will store the fat from your double decker burger until is done working off the beer had to wash it down with.
Reason number 2 - It is more profitable for the food industry to campaign against fat rather, and keep quiet about sugar. The food industry has been capitalising on the governments' failure to react though campaigning and taxation. It does not take more than a casual walk through the supermarket isles to realise that, if they could have stuck a "low fat" label on a detergent, they would have done that too! Fat is tasty and triggers the human brain in a way that we feel more satisfied and fuller. Take a full fat Greek style yogurt for example. The equivalent low fat version is not as tasty, therefore is often made with added sugar. Sugar is addictive so over time consumers end up eating bigger portions and more frequently. Exactly what the food industry wants you to do!
So now that the facts are out there how do you protect yourself as well as your children until the world wakes up, your GP gets more educated and the government gets their act together? Because if you just think that the food and drinks companies are going to voluntarily make products healthier like the prime minister's spokesman suggested recently, think again!
You will need to read the labels. But for this to happen correctly let's first put things into perspective. The number one rule of thumb to remember is that, one teaspoon of granulated sugar has 4 grams of sugar. Based on that, an 8 oz can of Coke has 7 teaspoons of sugar. A "healthy" 250ml Tropicana smooth orange juice offers 6 teaspoons of sugar while 5 teaspoons of sugar are all yours in your Starbucks skinny "sugar free" hazelnut latte. The coffee may be skinny but you may not get as lucky!
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently recommended that people should cut their sugar intake to just 6 teaspoons a day. But you will say, you eat all healthy and do not eat any sugar. Really? You already get sugar through fruit and vegetables. So before you go for your free soda refills remember that, a small size Braeburn apple carries about 3 teaspoons of sugar (half of WHO's recommended daily intake) which just about leaves you space for the equivalent of one more apple. A small apple that is!