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The (Not So Sweet) Danger of Sugar

The (Not So Sweet) Danger of Sugar

Affinity Health: “The amount of sugar you consume must be managed. No matter how sweet it might seem, sugar is still sugar.”

What are the Pros and Cons of Sugar?

Sugar has a bittersweet reputation when it comes to your health, taking the blame for a slew of problems. 

Sugar-related issues include cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, some cancers, obesity, tooth decay, and diabetes.  

However, according to Affinity Health, which provides affordable health cover for all South Africans – not all sugar is bad sugar.

What exactly makes good sugar good and bad sugar bad? 

Sugar is naturally found in many foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy.  It is vital to eat enough of these foods to meet your daily energy requirements.

Since your body digests these foods slowly, the sugar in them offers a steady supply of energy to your cells.

However, problems arise when you consume too many unnatural added sugars. These would be the refined sugars that food manufacturers add to products to increase flavour or extend shelf life.

The top sugar shockers include canned fruit, dried fruit, cake and muffin mixes, instant breakfast cereals, soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, flavoured yoghurts, sweets and chocolates, and most processed foods.

Added sugar is also present in items that you may not think of as sweetened, like ready-made soups, takeaways, salad dressings, bread, cured meats, and even tomato sauce.

The result: we consume way too many sugar additives without even knowing it!

“Reading food labels is one of the best ways to monitor your intake of added sugar,” says Affinity Health CEO Murray Hewlett.

“Be wary of synonyms food manufacturers often use to hide how much sugar is truly in a given product, such as dextrose, fructose, glucose, sucrose, corn syrup, hydrolysed starch, and molasses, to name a few. Also, keep track of sugar you add to your beverages, such as coffee and tea.”

How much of the sweet stuff should you eat a day? 

Experts suggest the maximum amount of recommended sugar is 37.5 grams (or nine teaspoons) for men, 25 grams (or six teaspoons) for women, and less than 25 grams (under six teaspoons) for children. 

To put that into perspective, one 350ml can of soft drink, for example, can contain roughly nine teaspoons of sugar, while a 100gm bag of sweets can contain about 12 teaspoons. In contrast, a single tablespoon serving of tomato sauce may contain a full teaspoon of sugar.

At the end of the day, it’s important to figure out the sugar intake that’s right for you. 

Read More Here: Manage your Sugar Levels

Affinity Health suggests that little substitutions can make a big difference. You can drastically cut down on your sugar intake simply by:

  • Choosing foods that are naturally sweet (like fresh fruit, for example) 
  • Reaching for a glass of water instead of sugary beverages
  • Choosing sauces with reduced sugar content (or sugar-free)
  • Comparing food labels
  • Avoiding processed foods
  • Trying sugar alternatives like stevia, erythritol, and xylitol 

For those with excessively high sugar levels that have led to chronic diabetes, Affinity Health has recently launched its Diabetes Management Programme.

When diabetes is not properly treated, it may result in the manifestation of life-threatening secondary illnesses. 

Diabetes can be managed by taking carefully monitored medication and other treatments to reduce the occurrence of secondary conditions.

The Diabetes Programme together with the Affinity Health specialist network, and your Affinity Health GP will help you keep an eye on your sugar levels. 

Through support, Affinity Health hopes to provide members with suitable treatment and tools to improve their overall health. 

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, and Instagram

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