As it’s National Sugar Awareness Week, I’ve written a short blog with a few of the KEY FACTS you need to know about sugar!
What is sugar?
- In it’s simplest form, sugar is made up of monosaccharides (glucose, fructose and galactose) and disaccahrides – sucrose (made up glucose and fructose), lactose (glucose and galactose) and maltose (glucose and glucose).
- When sugar molecules are joined together to form more than two units they become oligosaccharides (3-10 sugar molecules) and polysaccharides (such as starch, pectin and fibre).
- ALL sugars are generally extracted from natural sources e.g. glucose and fructose from honey and fruit and lactose from milk
- Sucrose (table sugar) is produced by the crystallization of the syrup from sugar cane and sugar beet plants.
How much should we eat?
Free sugars are defined as: ‘those sugars added to food or those naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices, but exclude lactose in milk and milk products.’
- The Government recommendations suggest that we should be getting no more than 5% of our daily calories from ‘free sugars’ in our diet. That’s around 100 calories for a typical adult female!
- 5% of calories also means around 30 grams of sugar or 6-7 teaspoons of the sweet stuff.
- There are roughly 7 teaspoons of sugar in a can of regular coke
- Our current intakes in the UK are on average at least twice that of the new sugar recommendation
- The highest sugar intakes are in children 4-18 years of age
Why should we limit our sugar intakes?
- High consumption of sugars is associated with a greater risk of tooth decay
- Consumption of sugar sweetened drinks is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes
- Eating too many foods high in sugar could lead to overconsumption of calories and weight gain
For more information on sugar for National Sugar Awareness Week, simply search ‘sugar’ in my blogs or see the links I’ve pasted below: