How hidden sugars are harming your health

A SPOONFUL of sugar may help the medicine go down, but experts say not stopping at one is having a detrimental effect on our health.

Added sugar has no nutritional value but if eaten in excess, it can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, raise your cholesterol, damage your liver and result in obesity.

On average, Australians consume almost 30 teaspoons of sugar a day.

The World Health Organisation is considering lowering the recommended daily sugar intake from 10% of your daily calorie intake to 5% or roughly six teaspoons of sugar.

While we are can't eliminate sugar completely without losing the benefits of fruit and vegetables, we can address the overdose in our diets of hidden sugars.



"The problem with hidden sugars," said nutrition scientist Kate Flinders, "is that people don't always account for them when considering their sugar intake.

"There's increasing concern that these kinds of sugar sources may displace more nutritious foods in the diet, thereby increasing the risk of ill health through conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

"Sugars also play a major role in the development of dental caries or cavities, which continues to cause pain and loss of function in many people."

Neither the Australian Dietary Guidelines or WHO recommend avoiding sugar entirely as it is one of the body's main energy sources but stress a balanced diet where sugars come from fruit, vegetable and milk rather than cakes and soft drinks.