- The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently indicated that sugar intake should be restricted.
- This recommended sugar intake includes that added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer or cook, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) said, “White sugar is slow poison. Refined white sugar such as sucrose and high fructose corn syrup contain excess calories and zero essential nutrients. Consuming up to 10% to 20% more sugar than the recommended amount can contribute to adverse health effects.”
“The resultant inflammatory environment in the circulatory system can cause heart disorders and stroke to precipitate,” he added.
Calories in liquids contribute to more weight gain than those in solid foods. This is because solid foods are broken down slower. Sugar drinks also carry nutrient-poor calories. Dr Aggarwal said, “Free sugar can cause global instabilities in blood, leading to health issues over time. Refined white sugar is also damaging to the digestive system. It increases the effects of hormonal imbalance in women leading to androgynous manifestations like facial hair and in rare cases, ovarian dysfunction. One should thus opt for alternatives such as jaggery or honey.”
Fruits and vegetables offer more nutrients than any other food group. Thus, it is advisable to consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
“Refined white sugar is an industrially processed chemical not found in nature, and is not fit for human consumption. It is devoid of nutrients and acts more like a drug than a food. Sugar is not meant to be a part of our natural diet. Sugar, falsely believed to be harmless is responsible for many health problems we find in our society today, mainly diabetes. Sugar is a long-term chemical poison and is devastating to our health. Not only is it toxic, it is also addictive. It can be said that sugar is a silent thief who robs years from your life.” Dr. Mita shah, Diabetologist, Global Hospitals Mumbai
Dr Nikhil Nassikar, consultant Diabetologist, K J Somaiya Super Speciality Hospital, said, “The white sugar we eat is industrially processed and is not a natural substance. The refined white sugar is stripped of all nutritional value and is bad for the human system. If not taken in a controlled manner, the ‘sweet sugar’ becomes bitter for the body”
Some tips to avoid excess refined sugar: (Source: Dr Aggarwal)
- Avoid high fructose corn syrup. Watch out for this ingredient in labels.
- Use natural sweeteners like sugarcane, honey or jaggery.
- Eat several small meals a day, rather than three large meals. By eating little portions spread throughout the day, you’ll feel more satiated and be less inclined consume unhealthy sweets.
- Limit alcohol intake as it contains hidden sugar.
- Restrict bread and bread products as much as you can, especially those containing wheat. Wheat has a higher glycemic index than table sugar. Avoid white rice and maida as much as possible.