Sugar and Health


As a society, we consume far too many sugars. Sugars are divided into two types: naturally occurring sugars, and free sugars. Naturally occurring sugars are found in whole fruit, vegetables and milk-based products and these are not considered harmful for health, although they still contain calories. Free sugars includes monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. Free sugars are found in a wide range of foods such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, juices and fizzy drinks, and these can be very detrimental to health. While foods such as fruit and dairy products can be a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre; foods containing free sugars often have very little or no nutritional benefit.

Whilst certain food and drink manufacturers claim their products are a good source of energy because their products contain added free sugars, this is misleading.  The body generates energy from carbohydrate which can be found in fruits, vegetables, breads, pasta and rice and there is no need whatsoever for added free sugars.

Sugars are an unnecessary and unhealthy source of calories, and health experts are becoming ever more concerned about the issues associated directly with excessive sugars consumption. The incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes, along with the sometimes serious consequences of those diseases, is rapidly increasing. There is a direct link between consumption of sugars and dental caries as well as a possible link between consuming excess sugars and high cholesterol, high blood pressure, some cancers and non-alcoholic liver disease.

Even if you are slim and appear to be healthy, consuming too much sugar can still have serious effects on your health and these issues may only appear later in life.  It is particularly important to try and reduce the amount of sugars that children consume. Children can grow accustomed to a diet high in sugars, and this habit will then be harder for them to break. It is therefore important to try and cut down, where possible, and opt for healthier low-sugar alternatives that can be just as tasty.