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A little bit about sugar

The instant ‘lift’ we get from sugar is one of the reasons we turn to it at times of celebration or when we crave comfort and reward. However, even those of us without a sweet tooth may be eating more than we realise because so many everyday, processed foods, from cereals and bread to pasta sauce and soups contain sugar.

But it’s not all bad news – sugar is a carbohydrate found naturally in a host of different foods from lactose in milk to the fructose in fruit and honey. In fact, we need some sugar in our diets to supply ready energy to fuel our muscles and keep our brains active.

There are two types of sugar – naturally occurring sugar like lactose in milk and added sugar, which includes table sugar (sucrose) as well as concentrated sources like fruit juice.

The problem is that many processed foods have added sugar which supplies energy in the form of calories – and very little else. This means our body has to draw on the nutrients from the rest of our diet to process it and this can affect our health, including our immunity – leaving us more prone to bugs and colds.

A high intake of sugar can lead to a feel-good ‘high’ which is often followed by a crashing slump leaving us tired, irritable and craving more sugary foods. It’s a vicious cycle that may be contributing to our weight problems as well as health concerns like diabetes and heart disease.

Sugar | Wikipedia
The facts about sugar | NHS Choices
How much sugar is good for me? | NHS Choices
How much sugar is hiding in your food? | iWonder BBC
Sugar, sweeteners and diabetes | Diabetes UK
Sugar intake must be slashed further, say scientists | BBC News 16 Sep 2014
WHO says halving sugar target has extra benefit | NHS Choices

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