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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

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We eat 36 kilos of sugar a year on average


Have you got a sweet tooth? Sweetened cereals for breakfast, chocolate pudding at lunchtime, sugar in your tea, a candy bar or two for a snack, a fizzy drink? Every day many people consume huge amounts of sugar, Every year, the average German consumes 36 kilograms of sugar. And that despite the fact that most people would be able to tell you just how much harm excessive sugar consumption can do. So why do we eat so much sugar? Is it just a question of will power, or are some of us truly unable to limit our sugar intake?

There are a lot of theories about why we can’t seem able to get enough of the sweet stuff. One theory is that we acquire a taste for sweetness along with our mothers’ milk, which tastes sweet. Or maybe it’s simply a chemical reaction that gives us a brief moment of happiness and relaxation as we munch our chocolate bar. Especially people suffering from unrequited love or facing a lot of stress at work tend to console themselves by consuming a lot more sugar than is good for them. Some of the experts hold with the theory that people can become addicted to sugar. Like all addictions, the craving can only be satisfied with larger and larger amounts of sugar.

The significance of this for the food industry is hard to underestimate – there’s nothing easier than selling to already addicted consumers who want above all to avoid going “cold turkey”. A lot of food manufacturers advertise their products as low fat, but in fact stuff them brimful of sugar. It’s something that many consumers are totally unaware of, because the high sugar content is concealed behind harmless sounding names, such as fructose, saccharine or glucose syrup. Then there are foods that don’t taste sweet, but nonetheless contain a lot of sugar. A currywurst is a popular snack, it consists of a hot sausage doused in ketchup and curry powder. And it contains the equivalent of four cubes of sugar. A pizza Hawaii contains around seven and a tin of peaches around ten. Check the website sugarstacks.com to see how many sugar cubes there are in all sorts of products. Prepare to be surprised!

Excessive consumption of products with a very high sugar content is making whole nations fat, and the worst affected are the children. Any sugar you eat that you don’t immediately need for energy, gets converted into fat and stored in fat cells. And the less exercise you take, the fatter you get. So it’s really important to be aware of how much sugar you’re eating and possibly to choose sugar substitutes instead. Instead of gorging on chocolates and sweets straight out of the packet, try eating them from a bowl , set yourself a limit and stick to it. Or try some of the sugar substitutes discussed in the next section.


Natural alternatives to sugar

There are some delicious alternatives to sugar, some with as many calories, some with decidedly fewer. Tea, dressings and marinades can all be sweetened with honey. Maple syrup is delicious on muesli or yoghurt as well as more traditionally on pancakes. Agave juice sweetens as effectively as sugar, but with far fewer calories; it harmonises well with baked products and jams. Then there’s thaumatin, a natural sweetener extracted from the seeds of the katemfe bush, which is ideal for sweetening cold dishes. Luo han guo might be called the Chinese stevia. It’s extracted from arhat fruit and offers a neutral-tasting way of sweetening tea or coffee. Stevia itself is a name on everyone’s lips and there’s more information on this interesting new sweetener here.

Author: Hendrik Jürgens
Source: www.hoerzu.de