How much Sugar is dangerous?
As we stride into the 2nd half of life, women face some unique health issues.
Did you know?
More women are affected by dementia than men. Worldwide, women with dementia outnumber men 2 to 1.
And when it comes to joint pain, aching and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis, research also suggests women are more likely to fare no better. Evidence suggests that women aged 50 to 60 years may be 3.5 times (350%) more likely to develop hand osteoarthritis than men in the same age group. Women are 40% more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis than men and are 10% more likely to develop hip osteoarthritis than men.
(Check out my video "Women's Health as We Age" exploring this a bit more).
But I digress. On to the Sugar question.
Because I almost always include reducing sugar in my recommendations, clients frequently ask: "How much am I allowed?" Or sometimes: "How much Sugar is Dangerous?"
What about you? Do you ever wonder how much sugar is too much sugar?
Let's investigate. So, clues you are eating too much sugar include:
Tired in the afternoon
Hungry when you shouldn’t be
Moods up and down throughout the day
Irritable for no reason
Gobbling sugary treats without even thinking about it
Eating to satisfy a craving rather than pleasure
Swapping a healthy meal for a dessert, cake or chocolate
Bingeing on sweets at odd times of the day or night
Can’t think clearly
Tired but wired
Foods don’t taste as sweet as they used to
The more we eat sugar, our taste buds get desensitised and just don’t taste it as much so we eat more. This was one of the things that most surprised participants in my Sugar Free Challenge at the beginning of this year, how after 10 days sugar free, everything tasted so much sweeter.
Struggling to lose weight
May sound obvious but some people count calories, consume a lot of their calories from sugary stuff and miss out on real food. And a sugar calorie is not the same as a protein calorie FOR SURE
How many of those can you tick off? It might taste nice but is it worth it? I mean, who wants to live like that?
And then there are the less obvious, long term and initially hidden dangers of too much sugar.
Type 2 Diabetes (too much sugar in your blood).
Excessive sugar consumption can cause long-term damage to skin proteins, collagen and elastin, leading to premature wrinkles and ageing.
Anxiety and heightened stress
Memory Loss and Poor Cognitive Function
Even a single instance of elevated glucose in the bloodstream can be harmful to the brain, resulting in slowed cognitive function and deficits in memory and attention.
So back to the question How much is Too Much?
The government recommends that free sugars, sugars added to food or drinks, and sugars found naturally in honey, syrups, and unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies and purées, should not make up more than 5% of the energy (calories) you get from food and drink each day.
So that means that Adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, (roughly equivalent to 7 sugar cubes).
And how much do we actually eat?
According to the NHS, we eat 700g of sugar a week, or an average of 140 teaspoons per person. which is 20 tsp a day or 100g a day.
So we shouldn’t be eating > 30g or 7 teaspoons a day and we are eating an average of 100g and 20 tsp a day.
And here’s the thing, that government recommendation of no more than 30g per day is to avoid disease and ill health, not to steer you towards optimal health.
So now you know how much sugar is dangerous!
But what does that translate to?
45g bar chocolate has 25g sugar
100g bar has 56g sugar
200g bar has 112g sugar
Next question. Can you have a 45g bar of chocolate every day, because it has 25g sugar and government says you can have up to 30g.
Firstly, that 30g is NOT a target, NOT something to aim for.
Secondly, you might not realise it but you are consuming grams and grams of sugar throughout the day hidden in many foods, tinned beans, tomato sauce, Weetabix, Granola and loads more of our common foods. So you could already be having 10-20g a day without even knowing it.
What about Moderation? Everything in moderation?
Moderation – what does that even mean? It could mean something completely different for each one of us. If you are going to say I’m having something in moderation, alcohol, chocolate, whatever, you must first decide and define what moderation means for YOU. This is something I work with clients helping them figure out what moderation is for them.
I love to see clients reap the benefits from reducing their sugar intake. Better sleep, more energy, weight loss, sharper cognition and confidence they can stride into the 2nd half of life knowing they are doing everything they can to minimise the risk of quality of life-limiting health conditions.
If this is something you are thinking about, and you’d like to explore, why not book a FREE Exploratory call with me (Services)
I’ll also be launching my 2nd Sugar Free Challenge towards the end of May. Sign up to be one of the first to hear about the challenge.