September Sugar Watch is my challenge to you to identify all the sources of added sugar in your diet. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a sugar intake of no more than 5% total energy intake. This guideline applies to sugar we might add to cereals, teas, coffees and desserts as well as sugar added to food products during manufacturing. To put this into context, 1 teaspoon of sugar which is roughly 5 grams of sugar contains 85 kJ / 20 calories. A person consuming 8000 kJ per day should therefore limit their total sugar intake to 4-5 teaspoons per day (20 – 25 grams).
The sugar content of a packaged food product can be easily spotted just below the total carbohydrate content. The exact source of this sugar will be revealed in the ingredients list. There are many different names for sugar including sucrose, maltose, dextrose, barley malt, glucose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar but the total amount of sugar is what counts.
We are very lucky in South Africa to have very good food labeling laws which protect the consumer if we take the time to read them. Nothing is actually hidden from us!
Sugar Myths Busted
- All unflavoured milk is free from added sugar, with the total carbohydrate coming from natural lactose only. Lactose is the form of carbohydrate found in milk and does not differ between fat free, low fat or full fat milk. Sweetened, flavoured milk and yoghurt contains added sugar, regardless of the fat content.
- Fructose is the natural form of carbohydrate in fruit. High fructose corn syrup is a a form of added sugar found in many commercially sweetened food products. This two must not be confused with each other. Including 3 portion controlled servings of fruit per day is a healthy way to achieve energy, nutrient and fibre intake.
Take this September Sugar Watch challenge and analyse your habitual sugar intake. Read labels and be informed about the foods you purchase.