Health Tip – Apr. 22 – Is Sugar the New Tobacco?
Dee Dee – Health Tip
That surprising notion – from the statement of a British health expert – was the lead story splashed across the front page of the British tabloid the Daily Mail, on January 8. The eye-catching headline heralded a new global campaign to stem the epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The strategy begins by heightening public awareness of the amount of sugar hidden in processed food and drinks and inducing producers to slash the amount of added sugar in their products by 20 to 30 per cent within three to five years. That reduction would eliminate 100 calories a day from the typical diet, enough to halt or even reverse rising levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver and even cardiovascular disease and associated ill-health, according to Action on Sugar, the group spearheading the campaign.
The amount of sugar hidden in processed foods and drinks amounts to a “public health hazard,” according to Action on Sugar’s scientific director. This is great news and long overdue. Sugar’s negative impact on health is often cumulative, and virtually all Americans consume far too much – about 64 pounds per person per year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey.
Awareness is key to changing behaviors, and prompting consumers to read labels may quickly convince them to seek products without added sugar. The best way to satisfy a sweet tooth is with foods in which the sugar naturally present is part of a whole food, such as in fresh or dried fruit, because the sugars are bound in a matrix of fiber that slows digestion and limits rapid increases in blood glucose.