You Are Eating Way More Sugar Than You Think

You are eating way more sugar than you think!

Hungry and making a salad? If you like a creamy French or Thousand Island dressing, make way for about 4 gms of sugar for every 2 tablespoons served. Sure, Vinaigrette or Caesar is better, but they don’t make your tastebuds sing, do they? 

Opting for ketchup? There go 4.1 gms of sugar into your system for every tablespoon of ketchup you add to your plate. Even your barbecue sauce that makes everything from pan-seared veggies to chicken wings taste phenomenal, contains 15 grams of sugar in two tablespoons. 

And these are just appetizers we are talking about. We haven’t even started on lunch or dinner yet. 

A world fueled by sugar:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a daily intake of 5 teaspoons or a maximum of 25 gms of free sugar per day for adults. The term ‘free sugar’ includes added sugar as well as naturally occurring sugar found in fruits, honey, etc.  However, globally, our consumption is far, far more than that. 

As of 2016, the US topped the daily per capita sugar consumption charts at 126.4 grams, with Germany and the Netherlands at 102.9 gms and 102.5 gms, respectively. The top 10 list also includes Australia, UK, and Canada.  

How does India fare?

A 2020 study from the Indian Council of Medical Research - National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR-NIN) showed that residents of Mumbai and Ahmedabad topped the sugar consumption charts with 26.3 gms and 25.9 gms, respectively

Source - ICMR-NIN report

However, India’s sugar consumption across metro cities overall was 19.5 gms per day, well below the global average. Despite this, we experience some of the highest incidences in the world of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 

Sugar and the link to diabetes and heart disease:

More than 74 million people or 1 in 12 adults in India live with diabetes, which is the second highest in the world. Research from the International Diabetes Foundation expects 134 million Indians to be diagnosed as diabetic by 2045. 

Furthermore, research has proven that a sugar-laden diet increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 38% and places you at a higher risk for type-2 diabetes. And in 2019, diabetes was the cause of 1.5 million deaths.

The ICMR study also observed that the highest sugar intake occurred in people aged between 36 and 59 years – the age group most at risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. Equally concerning was the fact that school-going children were having nearly the same amount of sugar as adults (20 gms per day) at around 17 gms, while adolescents were taking 19 gms per day. 

Is it because sugar is everywhere in India (You are eating way more sugar than you think), and is practically unavoidable? Perhaps, and the root of it lies in our modern lifestyles.

Ordering in, taking away:

Between 2020 and 2021, urbanization grew by 1.5% in India. And it’s set to continue on the same path. 

That means we will see more and more people outsource meal prep and grab food on the go, making more of us consume diets high in sugars. The food processing industry, which knows that sugar is addictive, uses it as a taste-maker, as an additive, and even as a preservative to some extent to keep you coming back for more.

The Indian mithai culture:

Traditional Indian culture indulges the practice of eating dessert along with the main meal of the day. And sugar-laden desserts are an inevitable presence at celebrations, festivals, and events, even at workplaces. Bottom line - sugar is nearly unavoidable in India.

Or is it? 

How To Moderate You Are Eating Way More Sugar Than You Think:

Feeling alarmed? These stats can be scary but there are ways in which you can enjoy the sweet things in life. You don’t need to completely cut out sugar from your life or do a radical sugar detox. The key is moderation and awareness. Here are a few things you can start with.

  • Spot that sugar!

Sugar is clever. It hides in the unlikeliest of places and comes in multiple guises - fructose, maltose, sucrose, dextrose, molasses etc. - making it hard for you to know that You are eating way more sugar than you think!. Read ingredient lists on food products carefully, and learn to spot the sugar content. 

  • Beware of low-fat foods:

Yes, that’s right. That low-fat yogurt, milk, beverages, salad dressings, and other ‘healthy’ options actually contain higher levels of sugar than regular food products. Choosing full-fat, healthy foods like nuts, dairy, cereals, and others keep you fuller for longer as they contain lesser free sugars.

  • Improve your sleep:

Didn’t expect that, did you? A research study has found that short sleep time leads to more sugar consumption. This maybe because we are tired and the body craves sugar as a pick-me-up. Or it could be because we have more time on our hands in the night, to get an extra meal in, and that typically is a dessert. Sleep early, get 7-8 hours of sleep and you should be golden. 

  • Choose minimum processed foods:

The more foods undergo processing the higher the amount of sugar and other chemicals. Opting for fresh, whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lentils, etc. gives you the necessary nutrients as well as naturally occurring sugars which prevents hunger pangs. For example, switch out white bread for wholegrain or brown bread, branded cereals for oats, and flavored yogurt for plain.

  • Plan your meals:

Reaching for a few spoons of mixture or a bar of chocolate in between meals to tamp down those hunger cravings is not ideal. And usually this happens when you feel stuck with nothing else to eat.

Plan out your meals for the week. Prepare some healthy snacks in addition to main meals. Perhaps you could batch cook for the week to take out the hassle. What’s more, cooking your meals with fresh ingredients at home has the added advantage of saving more money too.

What’re we doing about this at Artinci? 

At Artinci, we believe that indulgence is necessary and important - because the occasional indulgence helps renew and sustain our commitment to our own health. More importantly, that indulgence should bring joy! 

We just don’t need sugar to bring us that joy. It’s our love for everything sweet that drove us to craft healthy yet soul-filling foods with nourishing ingredients. Enjoy Artinci’s desserts, with ZERO added sugar, in moderation, and live your sweetest life!