Sugar can be found in natural products but it is more often found in unhealthy quantities in industrial processed foods like ready meals, cakes and biscuits. Sugar has many different names like fructose, sucrose and carbohydrate which can only just confuse us. In the 19th century, every British person consumed about two kilos of sugar per year, now we can eat up to a whopping 35 kilos in a year per person!
How can we become addicted to sugar?
The more a person eats sugary products, the more they want to eat it. Sugar can turn into a real addiction. When we eat sugar the brain works in the same way as with alcohol, tobacco and hard drugs. Sugar stimulates the reward centre of your brain which corresponds to pleasure and happiness.
It is for this reason that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that people don’t eat more than 25 g of sugar per day (whether it is fructose or glucose). This is about the equivalent of 6 to 9 teaspoons of sugar. Today, we can eat on average 17 teaspoons of sugar per day.
According to a study which appeared in the scientific journal “New England Journal of Medicine”, almost a third of the world population is overweight or obese today.
Sugar and type 2 diabetes
Regularly eating sugar in large quantities can cause type 2 diabetes. This illness can develop when there is a excess of glucose in the blood. However this chronic illness is becoming increasingly common among teenagers although normally it affects people who are in their later years.
Despite the recent sugar tax on soft drinks, it doesn’t affect all products that contain sugar. This is to the benefit of many food industries that produce food with a high sugar content.
Due to unhealthy lifestyles and the over consumption of sugar products an increasing number of people are affected by diabetes. The number of people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes in Britain has doubled to more than 4 million in the last 20 years. It is believed that by 2035 more than a third of heart conditions will be caused by diabetes in Britain.