The World Health Organization gives dire warnings. Doctors try to raise awareness among their patients. Even the media are using increasingly drastic imagery. While the World Health Organization recommends 25 g of sugar per day, Germans consume about 90 to 100 g on average. High time to question our sugar intake.
Is it possible to live completely without sugar? Where can we reduce our sugar intake easily? Do delicious recipes also work without sugar? Stefanie Bürge, a nutritionist at Natural Health Coaching
helps us find the answers.
What is behind the “white poison”?
In 1972, Dr John Yudkin published his pioneering book “Pure, White and Deadly”, in which he describes the consequences of excessive sugar consumption. At the time of publication, Dr John Yudkin was decades ahead of his colleagues in terms of scientific findings on the subject.
But what exactly is the effect of sugar on our bodies, Stefanie?
Our organs, muscles and cells depend on sugar as fuel. But sugar doesn't necessarily mean refined sugar: Our bodies can easily draw the energy it needs from starchy products, fruits and some vegetables. Fat and protein are also converted to energy, although this process takes longer.
While we do not need sugar to survive, there is no need to demonise it straight away. Dessert is good for the soul after all. Sugar only threatens our health when we consume it indiscriminately, unconsciously and in large quantities.
Pure sugar, such as the sugar in soft drinks, snacks or sorbet, causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. Insulin is then released to lower these levels. Insulin promotes the absorption of sugar into our cells, which is vital for life. Excess sugar is stored in the body. Large amounts of sugar mean large amounts of insulin. A rapid rise in blood sugar is followed by a rapid decrease, which means we then become hungry again.
I frequently talk to people who consume sugar-sweetened beverages between meals, including squash and fruit juice. This behaviour also causes blood sugar levels to rise and insulin to be released. The body constantly absorbs energy, but never depletes (fat) stores. In the long run, such ups and downs in blood sugar levels can lead to excess weight and make us ill.