If you've ever thought that the whole hoo-ha over our sugar consumption is a little over exaggerated and that it isn't THAT big of a deal check this out:
Our sugar consumption has increased dramatically since the beginning of the century!
The average person in an industrialised nation consumes up to 40tsp of sugar per day through their diet alone - and this is not through JUNK food but just normal SUPPOSEDLY healthy foods.
Just have a look at plate of what a "normal" person would consume in a day - as shown by Damon Gameau in "That Sugar Film" - all the hidden sugars add up surprisingly fast!
Of all the different macronutrients we eat - Protein, Carbohydrates (sugar and fibre) and Fat - Carbohydrates are the only non-essential ones!
That means your body can create glucose from either fat or protein as needed - you actually DON'T need to eat sugar (or carbohydrates) to MAKE glucose in the body!
Consuming large amounts of sugar and carbohydrates that are broken down into sugar by the body puts a huge burden on the pancreas to produce insulin to drive all that glucose into the cells, and for many people, it can eventually wear it out - leading to diabetes and many other health problems!
Did you know that sugar used to be so rare prior to mass industrialisation that many people around the world would have never even tasted it in their lifetime?!
But even if you might be limiting your sugar consumption and thinking that you are all well and good because of it. Its not just straight out sugar that provides your body with glucose - any carbohydrate that has a high starch content can turn into glucose in the body. Carrots. Yep. Sweet Potato. Yep. Potato - definitely!
Have you ever stopped to think about our fruit consumption in history and wondered whether we have always eaten as much fruit like we do now?
Prior to the industrial revolution and the incredible advancements of mass production, refrigeration and transportation all around the world all the time - Fruit was not available ALL YEAR ROUND via the local grocery store!
And it certainly wasn't bred selectively like it is now to have the highest sugar content possible!
You couldn't just waltz up to the veggie shop and choose any number of fruits to consume at will - all day long!
In most temperate climates, fruit trees were not readily planted all over the horizon, so that the average person had access to untold variety all year round. They may have had an apple tree or two, or a pear tree, probably some berries and that was probably about it for most people...correct me if I'm wrong, but the only place fruit was available year round like that was the tropics, pretty much.
So fruit in temperate regions (like New Zealand, USA, Europe) was a special treat - something that was harvested carefully and either eaten fresh for a short amount of time, or stored by way of preserving, to be eaten on special occasions the rest of the year IN SMALL QUANTITIES AND INFREQUENTLY.
So we need to be rethinking our approach to fruit consumption - its not as essential as we think it is or have been led to believe in order to have a healthy diet. In fact our overconsumption of fruit could actually be causing us considerable harm, despite the many health benefits of all that vitamin C and some of the other good things that happen to be in fruit.
I don't usually recommend eating more than 1 piece of fruit a day - and that is even too much for some people and certainly those with blood sugar issues like diabetics and pre-diabetics who tend to do better eliminating fruit altogether!
You can get ALL the vitamins and minerals and benefits that you would get from fruit from eating certain vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy animal products.
It is not an essential part of our diet.
And in fact of all the different types of sugar in our diets, overconsumption of fruit can actually lead to the development of a fatty liver as a result of the fructose (the specific type of sugar found in fruit) which is metabolised in the liver - putting a heavy load on the liver when it is consumed in excess.
So if you want to address your sugar consumption in your diet - you will also need to look at how much fruit you are eating as that can be a hidden source of sugars that you might not have realised were affecting you!
And quite frankly we just don't need to be eating so much.