As a nation, we consume over two million tonnes of sugar in the UK each year.
On a global scale, with a world population of just over 7 billion people, we now consume roughly 173 million tonnes of sugar annually – that’s up from 8 million tonnes at the start of the 20th century, when there was a global population of just 1.6 billion people.
The rate at which we’re consuming sugar is highest across America and Europe, in which we consume it in serious excess.
Manufacturers are ploughing this sweet white substance into our foods, from the obvious – cakes, chocolates and sweets – to the lesser known, such as pre-made soups, sauces, snack bars and breads.
Why does it matter?
Our increasing sugar consumption is directly connected with our expanding waistlines and obesity is becoming one of the largest risks to our health globally. In fact, after hypertension, smoking and high cholesterol, the NHS estimates that obesity is the fourth largest risk factor contributing to deaths in England.
It is associated with serious chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Obesity is also associated with cancer, disability, reduced quality of life and premature death.
Let the stats do the talking...
By 2050 obesity alone is predicted to affect 60% of adult men, 50% of adult women and 25% of children.
In 2014/15, more than 1 in 5 children in Reception, and 1 in 3 children in Year 6, were measured as obese or overweight.
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In 2014, 519,000 items were prescribed for the treatment of obesity in primary care in England. The net ingredient cost (NIC) of these prescription items was £15m in 2014.
[HSCIC, April 2016]
How does it work?
We need to start reducing the impact of sugar on our lives. Andy believes there are four key ways in which sugar affects our bodies. These are:
Too many refined sugars, carbohydrates and processed foods serve as "fertiliser" for disease-causing bacteria and yeast in our gut, causing them to rapidly multiply. This gives rise to inflammation and a wide-range of digestive symptoms, such as bloating, stomach pain, acid reflux, diarrhoea and constipation.
Diets rich in refined carbohydrates and sugar cause our insulin levels (a hormone made by the pancreas) to rise. When this happens, more and more energy gets diverted into fat storage and we put on excess weight. These refined carbohydrates are a major driver of obesity, and are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Our bodies digest refined carbohydrates and sugar very quickly, which causes increased inflammation and raises blood sugar levels. Too much sugar in our bloodstream can damage our artery walls, leading to more inflammation, which increases our risk for heart disease.
Diets high in refined carbohydrates and sugar trigger a cascade of chemical reactions in our bodies that promote chronic inflammation. In the long-term, this disrupts the normal functioning of our immune system and wreaks havoc on our brain, giving rise to problems such as depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, and Alzheimer's disease.
Research has shown that a large number of deaths are both preventable and related to diet, so to live Sugar Safe® is to live healthily to prevent chronic illness and disease. This includes…
Eating and exercising for your genes.
Exercising 20 minutes a day.
Meditating to de-stress and unwind.
That’s where Andy can help. In a consultation, you will be able to go through your diet and uncover all the places sugar is hidden. Andy will also discuss with you what the benefits are of living Sugar Safe, and what health and gut problems sugar and refined carbohydrates may be causing for you, without you even realising it.