Have you been watching the BBC documentary series about sugar and obesity? Here in the w&h office we’ve been shocked by journalist Jacques Peretti’s investigation into how prevalent sugar has become in the British diet. It certainly goes some way to explaining why British people are on average a massive 3 stone heavier than we were in the 1960s.
It’s not the odd sugar in your tea that’s causing the problem, it’s an industrial mix of fructose and glucose called high fructose corn syrup. Developed to drive food prices down in the US in the 1970s, high fructose corn syrup is a processed gloop that handily made use of the country’s corn surplus. With uses from extending food’s shelf life, to making cheap ingredients taste better (sugar covers up all the other tastebuds) or producing a ‘just baked’ sheen on bread, HCFS was soon added to food in pretty much every aisle of the supermarket.
Trouble is, many academics now believe that sugar can cause major problems in the heart, liver, digestive and even reproductive systems. Not only that – it’s addictive. One of the brain’s mechanisms for telling you you’re full, a hormone called leptin, is disrupted by sugar. So it’s a vicious circle making you more and more fat and unhealthy.
Another very good reason to cut down on sugar – sugary drinks and foods are filled with empty calories. Some high-sugar foods, like fruit and milk, also contain important vitamins, minerals and fibre. Added sugars? Not so much.
We’ve put together 10 simple ways to cut down on sugar – find out more.