Is there a daily recommendation for sugar?
The nutritional recommendation for added sugars is to be avoided. The less it consumes, the better. There is no daily amount of added sugars to be reached,
The body does not need sugarYou need glucose and you can take it from healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains or legumes, for example.
Therefore, the first thing that needs to be clear is what we mean when we talk about sugarsIt should be borne in mind that the recommendations concerning the consumption of added sugars by the various associations relate not only to the consumption of total sugar but also to the consumption of added sugars as a whole.
According to the WHO, which issued guidelines in this respect in 2015, with added sugars means monosaccharides and disaccharides added to the food from producers, cooks or consumers, as well as naturally occurring sugars in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. This does not include sophisticated sugars present in foods such as pasta, rice, legumes, potatoes or bread. and nor does it include the inherent sugars or sugars naturally present which are found in fruits and dairy products.
The latest recommendations of the Spanish Community Society for Nutrition (SENC) advise consumption of sugars, which implies less than 10% of the total caloric intakeWHO shares this recommendation and adds that consumption below 5% would bring additional health benefits. In a person who consumes 2000 calories a day, I suppose he never exceeds 50 grams of this type of sugar and ideally consumes less than 25 grams per day. This is a maximum limit that should not be overcome.
Do Spaniards exceed the consumption of sugar?
The 2015 report on food consumption in Spain by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and the Environment indicates this total sugar consumption (sugar from the sugar bowl) is 10.6 g per person per dayBut you have to add the added sugar to the food. Taking all sugars into account, 111.2 g / person / day (18.2% of calorie intake) is consumed in Spain, according to the study ENRICA (2011).
More recently, in the ANIBES study (2017), total sugar in the Spanish population was reported at an average of 76.3 g / day, representing 17.0% of total energy intake. These amounts are apparently higher than the maximum intake, which is recommended not to exceedIn recent years, we have received constant information on the harmful consumption of sugar, which has led to a reduction in consumption of plain sugar in the family but not processed products or beverages containing sugars that are equally harmful to health and we are included in the diet constantly.
A very clear example we usually see in the consultation is that of people who have replaced sugar with honey, believing it to be healthier when this food contains fructose, simple sugar, equally calorie and having a harmful impact on health if consumed in surplus, like sugar.
What foods contain more hidden sugar?
According to AECOSAN, the intake of added sugars increases. The most important sources of added sugars in Spain are soda, yogurt, fermented milk and dairy desserts, sweets, pastries and biscuits, juices and fruit nectars, chocolates and chocolate foods. Reducing the intake of these sources of added sugars would reduce the calorie content of the diet without compromising the nutritional adequacy of the same.
In addition, it will always depend on the amount of ration we accept. The most obvious foods can be sweet drinks, jelly beans, jam, sweets or biscuits. But there are other foods they contain an insignificant amount of sugars and we do not have such internalisation: biscuits, cereals, commercial fruit juices, snacks, sauces such as ketchup or barbecue, some bread or hot dog type.
For example, for 100 mL, a sweet carbohydrate drink contains about 10 grams of simple sugars. The same amount of commercial pineapple juice, for example, contains almost 11 grams of sugars. Anyway, we have a worse image of sweet soft drinks than commercial juicesAnother example: 20 g ketchup (approximately 2 tablespoons) contains 4 g of sugar.
What are the dangers of surplus sugar?
Current scientific evidence directly links excessive consumption of sugar with obesity. There is no doubt that these products are the cause of obesityBut, in addition to this obvious link, there are many other harmful effects to our health, such as the increased risk of developing diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease and the onset of dental caries.
What is the relationship between sugar and obesity?
Excessive consumption of sugar will favor the hypercaloric diet as it makes the food more delicious and less saturated and produces a surplus in its consumption. The main obvious consequence will be weight gain and with it, a greater risk of obesity.
Additional, these foods with added sugars are usually very bad food from the point of view of the contribution of other vitamins or minerals, so that excessive consumption, if it displaces the consumption of other food groups, can also cause malnutrition: vitamin deficiency, minerals, Excessive sugar consumption is also associated with insulin resistance, which will increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
In addition, the excess of fructose, which represents more than 10% of the total caloric intake, is associated with an increased risk of hypertriglyceridemia and low analytical values of HDL ("good" cholesterol) and therefore of higher cardiovascular risk. It seems that Fructose consumption is associated with increased lipogenesis "de novo"This contributes to central obesity and fatty liver. In addition, in response to the consumption of these sugars, there is an increase in insulin secretion which promotes the storage of fat.
Tooth decay It is also directly related to excessive consumption of sugars.
How should sugar be reduced in society?
The increase in taxes on sweet drinks is an effective measure, as they showed the first analysis after its implementation. This is the first step for an approach that needs to be global. Administrations should take care to reduce the genetically obese environment where highly processed products are fully standardized and very accessible to the population and, in many cases, confusingly public about their impact.
All population groups and health professionals need to know the reasons why sugar products are harmful, consumed in surplus, for their health. Also, they need to know what foods they can be cry; these types of sugars. Food education is important for all age groups, to educate the population to interpret the labeling of the food product, thereby promoting responsible consumption. However, confusing labeling makes choosing difficult.
In that order, it remains for the competent authorities, Improving nutrition information offered to customers labeling so that they are accessible to the entire population and to all age groups.
*Francisco Javier Escalade is Director of Endocrinology at the University Hospital of Navarra,
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