It’s no secret that obesity is on the rise. Recent figures report that 25% of adults in Britain are obese – a 22% increase over the last 30 years, and the problem is only expected to grow with estimates suggesting one in three adults will be obese in the next 15 years.
So why has our weight increased so rapidly? Well, our expanding waistlines coincide the expansion of the food industry, in particular the fast food industry. The 1980s saw the introduction of confectionery on a mass scale and since then fast food and processed food companies have seen a dramatic increase in demand.
There are a number of reasons why these companies have thrived: clever marketing, a culture of instant gratification and adding addictive chemicals to products have enabled the boom of fast food and sweet treats. Often, though, these products harbour hidden sugars.
It’s important to note that sugar isn’t inherently bad, in moderation that is. However, it is certainly a food group that we may want to keep a close eye on for the sake of our health and our waistline.
But with so many products on the market containing sugar, or sugar-like substances, how do we differentiate between what’s relatively good for us? Foods such as fruit, whole-wheat products and whole grains do contain sugar, more so than protein and vegetables, yet they do not have the same effect on your blood sugar levels due to the way your body processes them. So fear not, you don’t need to ditch those carbs! However, you may notice that many products are marketed as sugar-free and instead contain sweeteners. Ingredients such as sucrose, maltose, glucose and dextrose are just a few of the substitutes for sugar used in many processed foods, and whilst they contain very few calories, the jury’s still out on whether they are safe for our bodies.
Nowadays, it’s commonplace to buy products that are marketed as low fat or even healthy, yet they contain an unhealthy amount of sugar. By being aware and checking the labels of the products you buy, you can reduce your overall consumption of sugar, lose weight and improve your health.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/55772875@N08/25899114121″>Tea</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
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