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Sunday, October 24th, 2021

Sugar is not a necessary part of the diet



Sugar is a symbol of celebration for the world, but in Gujarat, its daily use has led to a surge in lifestyle-related diseases. While most people associate it with obesity and diabetes, few realize that it is also a risk factor for heart disease. Columbia Asia, Ahmedabad, has taken an initiative to make people aware about the adverse effects of excessive consumption of sweets.

Dr.Joyal shah(MBBS, MD, DM-CARDIOLOGY), Columbia Asia hospital, Ahmedabad says, “The first thing people need to know is that added sugar is simply not a necessary part of the diet. In fact, if we totally cut white sugar out, we will all be healthier. Sugar can be found naturally in carbohydrate-rich food such as fresh fruits and milk. These provide essential nutrients to our body, and do not have any adverse effects on the body, if they are consumed in the quantities they are meant to be eaten in. Our body can do very well with just natural sugars. However, daily consumption of additional sugar found in processed foods like candy, cookies, cakes, soft drinks, fruit drinks can affect the body adversely.”

In the National Health Profile 2015 by Central Bureau of Health Intelligence under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Gujarat topped the list with the most number of patients with diabetes and hypertension. As per the health profile report, the number of people living with diabetes in Gujarat stands at 1, 61,578 which is 20.5% of the total 7, 87,435 population screened.

“Hypertension and diabetes are both risk factors for heart disease. In Gujarat, a number of our traditional foods have sugar. However, we also have a number of traditional foods that don’t. We should focus on eating these on a daily basis. Also, our sedentary lifestyle needs to change, to ensure better heart health. Sugar directly enters the blood, causing insulin to get secreted. Insulin helps blood sugar levels stay even in the body. Constant increase in sugar level can cause an imbalance in the metabolism, because the body may find it hard to keep secreting insulin leading to Type 2 diabetes— a risk factor for the heart,” says Dr.Joyal shah(MBBS, MD, DM-CARDIOLOGY), Columbia Asia hospital, Ahmedabad

A guideline report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children and adults should limit daily intake of free sugars (white, table sugar as well as honey and gur) to 10% of total energy intake, and further says that reduction to below 5% per day can reap additional health benefits, besides preventing tooth decay.

Tips to reduce sugar intake:

Keep a check on how many sweet things you put into the mouth every day—if you add 2 teaspoons of sugar to your tea, count that, along with sweets you consume. This will give you an idea of how much you eat. Choose a few pieces of dry fruit for dessert, but don’t overdo it, as these are calorie dense. Try and switch to green tea so you avoid taking in any sugar. When offered sweets, take just one, no more. Avoid adding sugar in the main meal. If you feel a sugar craving, eat a fruit instead.



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