Endocrinologist Tatyana Bocharova told reporters the safe amount of sugar that a healthy person can afford. “25-50 g is the daily sugar requirement for an adult. This is the WHO recommendation. The figure includes not only granulated sugar, which we put in tea, but also any desserts and products with hidden sugar, ”she said referring to the recommendations of an international medical organization.
Dr. Bocharova explained that the specified amount is contained in approximately five to six tablespoons of refined sugar. Based on this, you can afford two to three tablespoons of sugar in tea or coffee, which leaves room for another 50 grams of chocolate, a small bottle of soda, or two bananas. At the same time, as the doctor recalls, a large amount of sugar is contained in products that we rarely think about in this context – in canned vegetables, breakfast cereals, low-fat dairy products, various sauces, in particular such as ketchup, which is popular in public catering.
Why is sugar in food so dangerous? First of all, this is one of the main causes of such dangerous diseases as type 2 diabetes, tooth decay and obesity. Sugary soft drinks are especially dangerous in this respect, the consumption of which continues to grow at an alarming rate. Back in 2016, WHO called on governments around the world to take action to reduce the consumption of these beverages. “Consumption of free sugars, including foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages, is one of the main reasons for the increase in obesity and diabetes worldwide,” said Douglas Boetcher, director of the WHO Department of Noncommunicable Disease Prevention, at the time.
WHO’s proposal was to increase taxation on the production of sugar-sweetened beverages, while simultaneously allowing governments to reduce their health spending. However, soda producers themselves responded to the initiative. So, in Russia, since 2019, members of the Union of Producers of Soft Drinks and Mineral Waters (SPBN) have undertaken a voluntary commitment to reduce the sugar content in their products by an average of 10%.
Does the body need sugar
The question arises: how much sugar does the body generally need? This question is far from idle. According to the Ministry of Health, in Russia in just five years the number of patients with diabetes increased by 23%. In the world, according to WHO, the number of diabetics has quadrupled over the past 40 years, this disease claims more than a million lives a year. Diabetes causes some of the worst complications, from cardiovascular disease to blindness. At the same time, many people with diabetes do not know about their disease and turn to doctors too late, when irreparable harm has already been done to their health.
Obesity has become a no less problem for humanity, and the largest percentage of people suffering from this disorder occurs in Asian and African countries. This is associated with an unbalanced diet and a lack of healthy foods in the diet of residents of these regions, many of whose countries are considered poor.
“In terms of nutrient requirements, people don’t need any sugar in their food. For those who do consume free sugars, WHO recommends reducing their intake to less than 10% of total energy consumption, and for additional health benefits, lowering it to less than 5%. This is less than one dose (from 250 ml) of commonly consumed sugar-sweetened beverages per day, ”says Francesco Branca, Director of Nutrition for Health and Development, WHO.
How to replace sugar
This opinion is also confirmed by domestic doctors. So, endocrinologist Tatyana Bocharova pointed out back in 2018 that refined sugar does not exist in nature. “If you take it out of your diet altogether, then after two days you will feel better,” she advised. However, we must not forget that glucose produced from sugar is still necessary for our body. It stimulates the production of hormones serotonin and dopamine, without it the brain, muscles, and circulatory system cannot function normally. What do doctors advise to replace sugar with? The place of the “white death” in our diet, according to doctors, should be taken by fresh vegetables and fruits, cereals and other healthy foods. The body successfully extracts glucose to and from them.
As the specialists of Rospotrebnadzor explain, “the amount of sugar necessary for the normal functioning of the body must be obtained from natural sources of sugar – vegetables, fruits, cereals, milk, nuts, because in addition to sugars, they contain vegetable proteins, fiber, vitamins and microelements, from the lack of which chronic diseases “. In addition, as experts point out, natural sources contain less sugar. “For example, a cup of fresh strawberries will contain 7 g of sugar, and a bag of fruit snacks with strawberry flavor will contain as much as 11 g,” Rospotrebnadzor specialists emphasize.