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Sugar under control

There has been a trend to reduce intake of simple sugars in the last few years and to prefer carbohydrates with low glycemic index. Having control over the total intake of carbohydrates and its relation to blood sugar level is especially important for diabetics. Excessive intake of sugar contributes to a quick rise of blood sugar level and it increases the amount of fats in blood and both of these result in being overweight and obese. Increased level of fats in blood and obesity can be the catalyst of many serious illnesses. According to experts, high intake of simple sugars can be responsible for a broad range of illnesses: tooth decay, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, steatosis, some types of cancer and hyperactivity.

Dietary guidelines of the World Health Organisation state that a healthy diet can include up to 10% of total energy intake in form of simple sugars consumed during the day evenly. For an adult whose daily energy intake should be 8500 kJ (2030 kcal) it means that he or she shouldn’t consume more that 50 g of sugar (850 kJ / 200 kcal) in one day. That doesn’t mean that people should consume 50 g of sugar at once. You shouldn’t consume more than 15 g of sugar in one meal.

The average consumption of sugar per capita is 40 kg in the Czech Republic. That represents an average daily intake of 110 g. This number is one of the highest in Europe and it is more than twice the recommended amount.

 

The problem of excessive intake of simple sugars lies mainly in so called hidden sugar. Many people don’t realise how much sugar they consume. That is why developed countries accepted the concept labeling foods with total carbohydrate and sugars. In the optimal composition of diet, the simple sugars represent less than ⅕ of the total carbohydrate. Yet, this ratio doesn’t necessarily mean that a given food is suitable. It is necessary to pay attention to the food energy which is usually stated per 100 g of the food. However, one serving can be more than 100 g and because of that we always have to realise how much grams we consume and how much energy is in this amount. The amount of simple sugars has to be assessed in the same way.

Because of the negative impact of excessive consumption of beet sugar on human body, there are efforts to sweeten with substances that don’t increase blood glucose level and don’t cause obesity. The production of low-calorie sweeteners gave doctors an effective tool that can satisfy consumers searching for sweet meals and drinks and maintain the blood glucose level within reasonable limits at the same time. Doctors were also the ones who were recommending sweeteners instead of beet sugar in order to fight the rising number of obese people. The role of sweeteners in regulation of blood glucose level became important much later and nowadays, sweeteners are the most effective mean of replacing sugar in relation to lowering the number of obese people and the number of people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Laymen often discuss if the sugar should be replaced with honey, various kinds of syrup or natural sweeteners such as fructose or sorbitol but without finding any solution. All of these alternatives contain the troublesome simple sugars and disaccharides (or they are sources of them), they are caloric, the contribute to obesity and they increase the blood glucose level.

If one wants to lower the intake of simple sugars, the possibilities are limited. The best way is a diet menu that doesn’t contain more than the highest admissible amount of simple sugars. To be fair, that can be quite difficult nowadays. The second possibility is to stop sweetening drinks, stop eating cookies, etc. However, not every person feels comfortable with giving up the pleasant sweet taste of food and drinks. The third possibility is replacing sugar with low-calorie sweeteners. The disadvantage of some sweeteners is their aftertaste. Taste of DiaChrom is very similar to sugar and it doesn’t have any aftertaste.

According to scientific studies, replacing sugar with low-calorie sweeteners (especially in drinks a desserts) can improve health considerably. The World Health Organisation draw the same conclusion in relation to lowering the consumption of simple sugars and disaccharides. Modern low-calorie sweeteners are safe and their consumers don’t have to worry at all if they follow the recommended daily intake. The threat of serious health problems is much higher if you consume simple sugars excessively in comparison to overconsumption of low-calorie sweeteners.