Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 07/21/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 07/21/2014 6:56 AM | Updates
Three glasses of orange juice or two small containers of vanilla yogurt would set you at your daily sugar limit if Health Canada's proposal pans out.
Last week, the federal agency announced its plans to set a daily limit on sugar intake as well as revamp nutrition labels so consumers can easily spot how much of the sweet stuff manufacturers have added to packaged foods.
The announcement comes on the heels of other dire warnings from global health organizations about sugar and its link to obesity and disease.
In June, Dr. Margaret Chan, the World Health Organization's director general, warned that many are literally "eating themselves to death."
"Our children are getting fatter," she went on to say, noting she has established a "high-level commission" on ending childhood obesity.
Earlier this year, the organization announced plans to recommend sugar make up only five per cent of our collective caloric intake. For an adult, that's about six teaspoons of sugar or one glass of juice.
Health Canada's proposed recommendations about sugar aren't so drastic: The agency would suggest that Canadians consume 100 grams of sugar daily. Like WHO's proposal, the naturally occurring sugar in juice would count towards the daily limit since it has the same effect on the body as table sugar.
For years, nutrition experts pointed to saturated fat as the main culprit responsible for the majority of weight gain and heart disease. (Saturated fat or animal fats raise blood cholesterol levels, which in turn narrow arteries. Fat is also calorie-dense so that a relatively small amount packs a big caloric punch).
Today, more health experts are backing out of their war on saturated fats and turning their sword toward sugar.
The shift is warranted.
We know overloading your system with refined carbohydrates such as sugar can overwhelm your system and lead to insulin overproduction. Insulin is a necessary, life-saving hormone that removes sugar from the bloodstream. But it also helps the body store belly fat. Too much insulin can trigger intense hunger and a cycle of overeating. All of these factors can lead to metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes, an ailment that is killing millions of Canadians.
Some heath professionals claim that excess sugar can actually suppress the immune system. (The physician-run website askdrsears.com states that sugar can hinder the ability of white blood cells to fight infection by 40 per cent.)
Health Canada's proposed recommendations about sugar are a step in the right direction. However, it's up to Canadians to take action to protect their own health.
You've heard it before. Here's another reminder about how you can limit your sugar intake:
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 21, 2014 C1
Updated on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 6:56 AM CDT: Replaces photo
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