Health trap

Central and North Burnett Times - - VOICE OF THE BURNETT -

Can­cer Coun­cil’s Katie Clift A high sugar in­take is known to cause weight gain, in­creas­ing your risks of can­cer and other chronic dis­eases.

YOU can avoid the health trap of hid­den sug­ars.

Lim­it­ing your sugar in­take is one of the keys to main­tain­ing a healthy diet and body weight, but with so many sug­ars hid­den in our foods, many of us con­sume too much sugar with­out know­ing it.

Can­cer Coun­cil spokes­woman Katie Clift pro­vides a few sim­ple tips for avoid­ing sugar traps:

Did you know that a dressed salad could con­tain nearly half of your rec­om­mended daily in­take of sugar?

If you an­swered no, you’re not alone.

Many of us are un­aware of the hid­den sug­ars in pre-pack­aged and pro­cessed foods, from the sweet tang in your tomato sauce to the mor­eish bite in your burger bun.

Th­ese hid­den sug­ars are a health trap, con­tribut­ing to what many have called Australia’s obe­sity epi­demic.

Ex­perts at the­World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion rec­om­mend we get no more than 5% of our to­tal en­ergy in­take from added sug­ars. For most of us this equals about six tea­spoons or 25g if you’re on a nor­mal diet.

There are two types of sugar: the nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring sugar found in fruit and veg, whole­grains and lac­tose; and added sugar, which in­cludes cane sugar as well as the con­cen­trated sug­ars found in prod­ucts such as fruit juice.

Many low-fat and “diet” foods con­tain ex­tra sugar to im­prove taste and add bulk.

Some sin­gle-serve va­ri­eties of low-fat diet yo­ghurt can con­tain up to six tea­spoons of sugar.

Even savoury foods can be a sweet trap – in­clud­ing pre-pack­aged soups, breads, pasta sauce, and other condi­ments.

The key to know­ing how much sugar coats your ce­real is read­ing the nu­tri­tional in­for­ma­tion panel on prod­ucts.

Prod­ucts with less than 5g of sugar per 100g are a bet­ter choice than those with more than 15g per 100g will weigh on your waist­line.

While you’re read­ing the prod­uct la­bel, look out for in­gre­di­ents such as glu­cose, fruc­tose, su­crose, lac­tose, mal­tose – th­ese are added sug­ars, as are honey, agave, maple syrup, corn syrup and mo­lasses.

And re­mem­ber, in­gre­di­ents are listed in or­der, with the main in­gre­di­ents listed first, so when sug­ars are listed first or sec­ond, steer clear.

If you want to cut down on sugar, start by halv­ing the amount you add to tea and cof­fee, and con­sider spice sub­sti­tutes such as cin­na­mon or nut­meg.

Swap sweet­ened dairy prod­ucts for unsweet­ened and low-fat va­ri­eties, and sub­sti­tute pre-made sauces for home-made recipes.

To over­come sugar crav­ings, drop sim­ple car­bo­hy­drates such as white bread, rice and pasta and re­place them with whole­grain foods such as whole­meal bread, oats and brown rice; and opt for lean meats, fish, eggs and nuts – th­ese foods keep you fuller for longer and pro­vide sus­tained en­ergy.

A high in­take of sugar causes your blood sugar level to rise, giv­ing you a short-lived boost fol­lowed by a slump in en­ergy that is likely to leave you lethar­gic, ir­ri­ta­ble, and crav­ing more sweet stuff.

Worse still, a high sugar in­take is known to cause weight gain, in­creas­ing your risks of can­cer and other chronic dis­eases.

Fol­low the sim­ple tips above and savour your life – with­out the weight of sugar.

Queens­land Can­cer Coun­cil

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