Derrick Ong, accredited dietitian in Australia and Singapore, and director of Eat Right Nutrition Consultancy (www.eatright.sg), shares some sweet facts.
Q: How can we identify the various types of sugars and tell the good from the bad?
A: The chemical name for table sugar is sucrose. Generally, ingredients in food labels ending writh “ose” are sugar compounds. These include glucose, fructose, maltose, and dextrose. Other common ingredients containing sugar are molasses, maple syrup or golden syrup. We can’t classify any sugar as “good” or “bad”, but we can distinguish between sugars found in whole foods and those added during food preparation. Whole fruit contains naturally occurring sugars and other important nutrients such as dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Sugars added during food or drink preparation are usually devoid of nutrients, and merely give a sweet taste.
Q: Can you suggest a daily meal plan with the recommended sugar intake?
A: Limit your sugar intake to eight to 10 teaspoons a day. For breakfast, have a tuna sandwich with a cup of coffee or tea (three teaspoons of sugar). Order a bowl of fishball noodle soup and a cup of chrysanthemum tea for lunch (four teaspoons of sugar). Have a plate of economical rice with meat and vegetables, and a beverage for dinner (three teaspoons of sugar). You can replace each teaspoon of sugar with one sachet of Equal Stevia to avoid the unwanted calories and effects of sugar.