Sugar is the new tobacco

Sugar is the new tobacco

Although most of us don't realise it, sugar is our favourite food. Our addiction to sugar starts when we are just babies and only goes on to increase through the ages.

Let's first define sugar. Sugar can be sucrose, glucose, fructose, lactose, maltose or corn syrup, high fructose corn starch syrup. The sugar that is commonly available today is a highly processed version. Though it is referred to as 'pure' sugar, this is the version that is so refined that it loses all its nutritional values and moves to the category of 'junk food'. Consuming pure, shiny white sugar is essentially loading empty calories in your body.

Here are some of the side-effects of consuming excess sugar:

* Sugar is the cheapest ingredient used in processed foods. Recent studies conducted on rats proved the addictive nature of sugar. Rats, who were given a diet of sugary foods, continued to eat even in the midst of a life threatening situation without stopping.

* Sugar is the leading cause for a host of systemic diseases. A majority of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, obesity or heart ailments, are metabolic disorders. Recent studies also show that sugar feeds cancer cells and enhances their growth and proliferation.

* We get addicted to sugar at an early age, often when we are weaned from mother's milk to substitutes. The presence of sugar in substitute foods can wean the infant away from mothers' milk easier and quicker!

The World Health Organization has issued guidelines that stipulates sugar consumption to be less than 5% of our daily food energy. This translates to about 25 grams per day or 6 teaspoons. However, on average, a person consumes four times the stipulated amount per day.

(The author is senior nutritionist, Pristine Organics)

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