It’s a sad fact of life that, sometimes, the things that we love most will not make us happy in the end and this is so true when it comes to food. Unfortunately people build emotional attachments to certain foods in the same way that they do with people and, just as we must accept that our love of Johnny Depp or Angelina Jolie is destined to be unrequited, we must also accept that our love of some foods will ultimately do us harm.
Various Governments have gone to great lengths to ensure that food packaging these days is covered with loads of nutritional information which is supposed to enable us to have a healthy and balanced diet. Unfortunately there isn’t enough room on the packaging to explain what all the percentages and diagrams actually mean so most people don’t take a blind bit of notice. There are a few things in food which we need to keep an eye on if we are going to live a healthy life and one of them is:
Sugar: Much of the processed and fast food that are the staples of many people’s diets these days contain an awful lot of added sugar and, simply put, ingesting too much sugar can lead to heart attacks, liver failure, type two Diabetes, certain cancers and a host of other nasties that you really don’t want. The question is: What is too much? Anything more than about 25 grams or 6 teaspoons a day is the answer. So what is going to take you over your 25 grams?
A single can of cola has about 39 grams
A supermarket sandwich and a low fat yoghurt have around 30 grams
A blueberry muffin has around 30 grams
Just these 3 items could well be lunch for someone who is trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle: there’s no fat in cola, a sandwich is just a sandwich, the yoghurt is low fat and everyone knows that blueberries are good for you. Right? Unfortunately no – in this one meal you will have around 99 grams of sugar which is 4 times the recommended daily amount. If you then add in cereal and milk for breakfast you will have around another 15 grams; sweet and sour chicken with rice for dinner could add another 60 grams which takes your total for the day (without snack bars, sweets, ice-cream or chocolate) to around 174 grams
You will also need to check any labels carefully when you decide to reduce your sugar intake as it can be referred to as sucrose, syrup, dextrin, dextrose, fructose, glucose, saccharose and sweeteners, to name but a few!