News

03-03-2015

That Sugar Film has been released for cinemas and the tie-in book became a best seller. Australian actor, Damon Gameau follows a diet without refined sugars and processed foods and then during the entertaining documentary, eats the equivalent of 40 teaspoons of sugar daily over 60 days, documenting his health effects and state of mind. The film gives sugar a similar treatment to that given to McDonalds by Morgan Spurlock in Supersize Me 10 years ago.

Damon only eats foods that are considered healthy, but containing a high percentage of hidden sugars. He does not consume sugar as confectionary or soft-drink during the experiment. An example of his breakfast is a glass of apple-juice, a bowl of Just Right cereal and a low fat flavoured yoghurt.The effects are dramatic, having consumed the equivalent of almost 2500 teaspoons of sugar during the 60days, within 3 weeks he had developed fatty liver changes on testing and his weight ballooned.

As a criticism of the film, he consumes sugar at an extremely high level, and as a considerable amount of liquid. Research generally suggest the "average" Australian consumes more like 26 - 30 spoons of sugar daily, still a high level however. He also does not appear to eat any salads, whole fruit, wholegrain or vegetables during the film. The overall anti-sugar message overwhelms the note made at the end, that it may have been the  combination of refined carbohydrates and fats in his foods that were responsible for the adverse health effects found.

The World Health Organisation Draft Guidelines for healthy eating suggest that sugars should be less than 10% of daily total energy intake ( 12 teaspoons or 48-50g) with additional benefit if reduced to less than 5% of total energy( 6 teaspoons daily) The limits apply to all mono-saccharides (fructose, glucose) and disaccharides ( sucrose, or table sugar) added to food as well as those naturally occurring in fruit juices, fruit concentrate, honey and syrups.

Nutritional guidelines do not view sugar as a dangerous toxin, responsible for an obesity and diabetes epidemic and needing to be eliminated from our diets. We currently over-consume sugar and need to reduce our intake to under a half of the current amount eaten daily. Added sugar has no nutrient value apart from its function as a carbohydrate. Small amounts can compliment a healthy diet. A small amount of honey makes whole-grains taste  better and fresh whole fruit is a satisfying dessert and easy snack, it contributes to daily fibre intake and assists digestive function.

Focusing on sugar alone , overlooks the combination contained in processed foods of sugar with unhealthy fats, additives and starches. The result is high in kilojoules, high in GI, low in fibre and easy to overeat.

Food labels can be complicated and difficult to interpret, one option is to chose to eat food as close to their natural state as possible, those that have no labels required, including the recommended two servings of fruit daily.

references :

eatforhealth.gov.au

who.int - draft sugar guidelines transcript

sugarscience.com

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