Sugar is the simple term for carbohydrates. There are different types of sugars, and these are found in different amounts, in different foods. The main core food groups that contain foods high in carbohydrates are fruit, dairy and grains and cereals. Carbohydrates are an essential part of our diet, as our brain uses carbohydrates as fuel. Therefore sugar is not ‘evil’. Instead, what we want to do is reduce the free sugar in our diet, that which comes from discretionary foods such as cakes, biscuits, chocolate, lollies, sweets and sweetened beverages. These foods do not fit into the core 5 food groups, often displacing our intake of these food groups. These high energy foods also contribute to weight gain, it is estimated that one can of soft drink a day can lead to 6.5kg weight gain over a year!
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends restricting these free sugars found in our diet. WHO recommends no more than 13 teaspoons a day for an active adult, therefore even less for children . However the Australian Health Survey from 2011-12 , found that Australians were eating, on average, about 14 teaspoons of free sugars a day. Bear in mind this is an average – and some people, including children and teenagers, are eating a lot more.
We can all reduce our intake of free sugars by:
• Choosing water as our main drink, and limiting soft drinks, cordials, sports drinks and fruit drinks.
• Limiting sweets to occasionally, not everyday
• Having fruit and low fat dairy as snacks rather than sweets
Head over to the Live Lighter website for more tips and information on how to improve your diet. www/livelighter.com.au
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- Live Lighter. The Facts. Available at: https://livelighter.com.au/The-Facts/
- World Health Organisation. WHO calls on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and children Press Release. Available at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey: Consumption of Added Sugars 2011-2012. Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4364.0.55.011main+features12011-12