Sugar is frequently blamed for the high obesity rates in Australia. Some even say it increases health risks in general. But the expert advice is that such claims are too simplistic and it’s acceptable to have limited sugar in your diet.
There are different types of sugar, including:
- Lactose (dairy)
- Maltose (breads, beer)
- Sucrose = glucose and fructose bonded together (table sugar, many high-sugar foods)
Fructose is a sugar that is particularly blamed for obesity. It supposedly stops your stomach telling the brain you’re hungry, which leads to overeating. It’s also claimed that fructose at any dose increases the risk of diabetes, dementia, heart disease and cancers.
Sugar isn’t causing obesity alone
However the research shows the % of sugar in the overall diet of Australians is actually less than it was 30 years ago – yet obesity continues to rise. So what’s the real problem with our diet? It seems we’re simply eating too much food of all types, in other words, too many calories.
The problem with sugar then is consuming too much of it, particularly sugary drinks and fruit juices. These drinks contain excessive calories and aren’t as healthy in terms of nutrients compared to whole fruit.
In addition, the research shows that small amounts of fructose don’t increase health risks. Fructose is found in apples and pears, so you can eat them as whole fruit or have an occasional juice.
What to do?
The best advice for weight loss and good health is:
- Eat less food overall (reduce your calories)
- Eat a balanced diet including:
- Plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits, preferably wholegrain cereals
- Moderate fat intake
- Limited sugar and alcohol
- Plenty of water
- Exercise regularly.
For more information:
Speak to your GP, visit www.daa.asn.au