Sugar in the spotlight…again

Sugar often gets a bad rap and as a country we consume an awful lot of it! The average Australian consumes around 20 teaspoons of sugar every day.

A teaspoon holds around 4g of sugar, therefore in a day you may be eating 80g of sugar. That means in a week you may have consumed over half a kilo of sugar – 29kg in a year.

Let’s picture that for a second. In one year the average Australian eats 29 bags of sugar – 29!! The average family of four could be eating upward of 100 bags of sugar per year.

That is a LOT of sugar!

What’s the problem with that? Well, sugar-rich foods are energy dense, therefore they release a lot of energy into our bodies and if we are unable to burn this off in exercise we risk gaining weight.

The good news is, increasingly Australians believe that if we don’t do more to lower our intake of sugar, our children will suffer the consequences, obesity, diabetes, heart disease to name a few.

But, you may be thinking: my family definitely don’t eat 100 bags of sugar every year!? Well, that’s what we all think; sugar finds its way into so many of our everyday foods, even the ones we think of as healthy!

Let’s take breakfast for example. Many of our kid’s favourite cereals can contain more than 30% sugar, eaten with a yoghurt and a large glass of fruit juice and we are nearing our daily sugar limit in the first meal of the day.

The World Health Organisation has recommended, based on evidence, that our added sugar intake should be less than 10% of our total daily energy intake – roughly 12 teaspoons. They suggest that reducing this to 6 teaspoons would have added health benefits.

How can I be more aware of how much sugar is in the food I am buying? When you are buying food, pay attention to the food labels on the back to help cut back on sugar rich foods. We know that those labels can be confusing but as a rule of thumb, if sugar is near the top, you can assume there is a lot of it.

At Life Education we believe that families should follow a balanced diet and that we should treat foods high in added sugar as ‘sometimes’ foods not to be eaten everyday.