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How Much Sugar Do You Eat?

Do you really know how many hidden sugars there are in foods?

These days food manufacturers are so good at naming sugars in a way that can lead people to believing they are eating way healthier options. If you eat a snack that claims it's 'healthy', it means that somewhere in their (maybe long) list of ingredients, there is a regulatory health claim. That's it. That snack you're eating could have a huge amount of fat, calories or sugar in.

We have our usual subjects that contain free sugars (additional sugars) -




Cooking sauces

Low-fat yogurts

Sweetened soft drinks

Chocolate bars/goodies


Fruit juices (beyond our 150ml portion)

Table sauces

Cereal Bars

Ready meals or prepared or frozen foods

Breakfast cereals

How do they impact on our health?

We naturally find sugars in our fruit and vegetables and we also find those more valuable sugars, known as wholegrains or complex carbohydrates, within breads, pastas and rice's. But why are we so worried about these other sugars? Type 2 diabetes is linked to a high sugar intake, but it is actually much more complicated that this. Type 2 diabetes is also a risk factor if you are overweight, have a family history, lack of exercise, smoking, have high blood pressure, and if you are older. A diet high in sugar is just another risk factor as it will come under the umbrella of an unhealthy diet.

Sugar isn't all bad thought, right?

So glucose, which is the most simple form of sugar, is the only source of fuel your brain can use. Now, your body is just the most incredible bit of machinery because, even if you do not eat any sugar (say if you try a silly keto or carb free diet) then your body can still produce it by many different metabolic pathways.

Your body requires carbohydrates which is essentially sugar, but if it is a complex carbohydrate your body has to work a lot harder to break it down for use within your energy system. Also, many of those calories cannot be absorbed if your carbohydrate source is high in fiber, and fiber is what keeps you regular and your gut super healthy.

Sugar can add up!

So think about your every day typical foods -

For breakfast you have some low-fat flavored yogurt with granola and fruit on the side, with a cup of tea or coffee with sugar (roughly 22g of free sugar)

Cup of tea with 2 chocolate digestive biscuits (roughly 6g of free sugar)

Chicken Cesar salad with a low-fat yogurt and a snack size mars bar (roughly 19g)

An afternoon snack of raisins and almonds (14g of sugar)

Spaghetti bolognaise from a premade sauce, can of fizzy drink and 2 scoops of ice cream (59g sugar)

It adds up fast! All this additional sugar can create a high caloric intake which could then cause a slow increase in weight, which is where those risk factors for type 2 diabetes begin to come in to play.

How will we know if something has sugar in it?

Ok, so looking at the food labeling on the back of any food item, if a food item has 22.5g or more in a typical 100g serving.

Other less common names for sugar are

  1. high-fructose corn syrup

  2. coconut sugar

  3. glucose

  4. golden syrup

  5. blackstrap molasses

  6. invert sugar

  7. corn syrup

  8. maltodextrin

  9. fructose

and a billion other names......(well, maybe not a billion but the list is pretty extensive).

This website offers a larger list which will make you realize the lengths companies go to

I would like to add here, that you can eat the foods you enjoy and get pleasure from, which are higher in sugar, it's about being aware of what might be in your foods and allowing yourself to understand the difference between natural sugars within our fruit and veg and those sneaky free sugars added to our food to make it more palatable.

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