I’ve just watched Dispatches on Channel 4 who asked the question ‘Are you addicted to sugar?’
The programme looked at the problem of hidden sugars in foods such as cereal, sauces, drinks and processed food. It highlighted one of the key problems that sugary foods and drinks are now staples in many people’s diet, whereas once they were an occasional treat.
The nutritionist on the show introduced the term ‘the bliss point‘ which is used by food companies to describe the precise amount of ingredients such as sugar, fat and salt that maximize the appeal of a food. If they can get that right, apparently we will buy it and they are on to a winner!
Back in November I went to see a play in the Burjesta Theatre in Liverpool called ‘The Poisoner’s Progress’ which covered the same issues covered by Dispatches via a series of sketches. It looked at the history of sugar, how the food industry take advantage of the nations sweet tooth and the impact of sugar on the body.
So what do we need to be aware of:
- If we consume too much sugar, particularly at the expense of other foods, our diets will be less nutritious This is because food and drinks with added sugars tend to be higher in calories, but lower in protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
- Excessive consumption of sugars and fat can contribute to obesity and overweight or obese people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
- The best known form of sugar is sucrose or ‘table sugar’
- Sugars found naturally in foods include fructose (in fruit and honey) and lactose (in milk).
- Sugars added to foods can be listed in various ways such as: glucose, fructose and lactose, syrup, sugar, dextrose, honey, treacle, molasses, corn syrup or fruit juice concentrates.
To date there is no proof that sugar is addictive – what do you think?