We’ve known for years that consuming too much sugar causes negative health impacts. Now, a landslide of studies, books, and documentaries have transformed the public’s perception of sugar; where once it was a naughty vice, it is now a fundamental risk to human health. As Vox writers Julia Belluz and Javier Zarracina pointed out in their excellent article Sugar, explained: “First, it was too many calories. Then it was too much fat. Now there’s a full-on war on sugar, our latest dietary enemy No. 1.”
Sugar is a carbohydrate that breaks down in the body to become glucose, an important source of energy. It comes in two key categories: naturally occurring sugar, found in fruits, vegetables, and milk; and added sugar, an ingredient in a vast range of food products.
Naturally occurring sugar is perfectly healthy, and the energy boost it provides is one of the many benefits of consuming whole fruits and vegetables. Diets that are heavy in added sugar, on the other hand, are unquestionably harmful. They increase risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes, all of which are considered major public health concerns in Canada, in addition to tooth decay, and some forms of cancer.
Unfortunately, avoiding added sugar isn’t always easy. Foods that appear or are even advertised as healthy may be loaded with added sugar. Sports drinks, flavoured plant-based beverages, and 100 per cent fruit juices, for example, are leading sources of sugar according to the Government of Canada’s healthy eating resource. Muffins, white bread, granola bars, many yogurts, and most breakfast cereals are similarly brimming with the sweet stuff.
According to the 2011 study “Sugar consumption among Canadians of all ages,” Canadians consume an average of 110 grams of sugar each day, or 20 per cent of their total caloric intake. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that sugar account for no more than 10 per cent of a person’s daily calories, and the American Heart Association suggests that women consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day and that men consume no more than 37.5 grams per day.
Staying within those limits in a sugar-addicted society isn’t easy, though. A single can of Coca Cola contains 39 grams of sugar, a glass of orange juice contains 24, and even a can of tomato soup contains around 12. To better understand how much sugar you’re consuming, carefully read the nutrition labels on your food, paying close attention to the serving size in question. At Paleoethics, we provide detailed nutrition information for each of our natural protein supplements.
Some dieters try to replace added sugars with artificial sweeteners. This strategy can deliver mixed results: although artificial sweeteners are generally very low in calories, they may cause adverse reactions in some sensitive individuals, and desensitization to sweetness which may make healthful foods like fruits and vegetables distasteful.
The best way to limit added sugar intake is to build your diet around whole foods, especially whole fruits and vegetables, and products like sugar-free natural protein supplements. Together, these foods can provide all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients the body needs.
At Paleoethics, we endeavour to provide all-natural protein supplements that facilitate a healthy, active lifestyle. For more information about our products and services, contact us today.