Sugar: the new Tobacco?
Sugar has been in the news this week following a major report in the UK in which urges us to half our current recommended intake of sugar to 7 teaspoons per day. Just to illustrate this, there are apparently 9 teaspoons of sugar in an average can of coca-cola. Sugar consumption is well -recognised in causing type 2 diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, cancer and heart disease, but as an integrated doctor I would also add to that list that sugar is a hormone disruptor ( raising insulin levels and affecting sex hormones such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and is pro-inflammatory, which basically means an increased risk of all diseases and the body not working properly. Eating high amounts of sugar stresses the body.
We don't need sugar. It can be an occasional treat but too many of our daily foods are laced with extra sugar, increasing our sweet tooths and decreasing our health. The simple answer is to eat a clean and simple diet, such as the modified Paleo diet, which doesn't include sugary processed foods. Not only is this one of the healthiest diets for our ancient physiology, but the more real food you consume, the more sugar cravings will subside.
Poor diet and high sugar consumption is a public health issue. According to the British Medical Association, diet-related ill-health in the UK is thought to lead to 70,000 premature deaths each year, which is about 12% of the total number of deaths. Again as an integrated doctor, I suspect this number is far higher in reality. Governments need to wake up and start educating the population and the public health system about the tremendous health benefits and cost savings of just eating a wholesome anti-inflammatory diet in the first place.
There are 30% more obese people in the world than undernourished people; in Western countries, we are over fed and under nourished. In 2014 , according to the World Health Organisation, there were 422 million diabetics world-wide, more than double the number in 1980. In the US this figure could be as high as 33% of the population by 2030. That's food for thought.