Most people feel guilty about adding a sachet of sugar to their tea or coffee, but should they? Sugar comes from many sources and can either occur naturally (e.g. fruits) or can be added (e.g. fizzy drinks). Sugar is a highly addictive substance because it stimulates pleasure senses in the brain. A lot of health-conscious people believe that honey and molasses are more nutritious than table sugar because they contain negligible amounts of minerals, but this doesn’t make them better. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) men should not consume more than 37.5g of sugar per day whereas women shouldn’t exceed 25g.
Side bar: Honey should never be given to children under one year old because it can contain spores of Clostridium Botulinum, which is a dangerous pathogen that the immune system of the baby is not prepared for.
A little more about sugar
We wrote this post because there is an alarming increase in the levels of obesity and Type II diabetes in children. Excessive consumption of sugar, often through fizzy drinks and sweets, leads to an increase in blood sugar levels and for our bodies to counter this, our pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin. In simple terms, the insulin acts as a key that opens the doors of our cell membranes to push the excess glucose into our cells, thereby clearing the bloodstream. Once the glucose is in our cells it can be used to make energy, build glycogen or converted into fat. When large amounts of glucose are constantly converted into fat and the child is not physically active, they will become obese. When this process happens over a long period of time, our body develops resistance towards insulin. As this resistance builds, our blood glucose levels will remain dangerously high after meals while our cells with have a hard time getting it, which is type II diabetes.
Should you add sugar to your Tea or Coffee?
So now, back to the question, should you feel guilty about adding a sachet of sugar to your tea or coffee. Each of these sachets contain 4g of sugar and the reason we feel guilty about this is because we can see the sugar being added into our drink. However, these 4g are insignificant to the “hidden” sources of sugar that we may be gobbling down without even realising. Below are some of the examples:
Now, with all that in mind, one 4g sachet of sugar added to your breakfast tea doesn’t sound so bad anymore, does it? These are just a few examples of the many hidden sugar sources out there. So, restricting yourself from 4g of sugar at breakfast and then having a bottle of vitamin water with your lunch is like wearing a bulletproof vest to avoid getting shot but then you cross a busy road without looking on both sides.
Sugar Substitutes and Artificial Sweeteners
Sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners are either low in calories or contain no calories at all and while there has been some concern over the safety of consuming them, they are reasonably safe to use and no more dangerous than the other hundreds of chemicals that we encounter every day. They are safe to use and are low in calories so they can be used in moderation to effectively replace sugar. However, the real solution is not to find substitutes for sugar but instead to retrain our taste to replace it altogether. Our palates adjust very quickly to new thresholds for sweetness and saltiness so while the food or drinks may be ‘disgusting’ for a couple of weeks, you will quickly get used to this taste and eventually find the sweet version disgusting.
If you have any questions about this post, feel free to send us a message or comment and we will get back to you as soon as we can.