Sweet or Sickly: How bad is sugar, really?

According to the 2008/09 NZ Adult Nutrition Survey (http://goo.gl/xkPJZT), kiwi males consume an average 120g of total sugars per day (including sugar from milk products and fruit). Females consume 96g. Sucrose (table sugar) is the major contributor, with males consuming 55g (14 teaspoons) and females 42g (10.5 teaspoons).

New WHO guidelines recommend restricting our daily intake of “free sugars” to about 12 teaspoons. However, reducing down to 6 teaspoons would have additional health benefits (see http://goo.gl/FXL36M). By way of reference, a can of sugar-sweetened soft drink contains about 10 teaspoons; a Mars bar has 8.

On top of tooth decay, added sugar can also contribute to increased body weight, raised triglycerides and cholesterol.  There is also the risk of raised blood pressure and/or type 2 diabetes (http://goo.gl/NBFB6H). The Ministry of Health has good advice on how to reduce sugar intake through making informed food choices here: http://goo.gl/u7FLqd, while Todays Dietitian examines some alternative sweeteners here: https://bit.ly/2PGAwW9.

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