Are you and your family overconsuming free sugars? Take the test and become Sugar Smart
For World Diabetes Day (14 November), Diabetes Ireland has launched an online “Sugar Smart” initiative at www.diabetes.ie/sugar-smart to equip people with the knowledge to make better food choices to help them lower their daily sugar consumption.
“Our intakes of sugar have increased dramatically over the last 10 years and where fizzy drinks and sweet foods are the obvious culprits many people are not aware of other foods which also contain large amounts of ‘free sugars’” said Pauline Dunne, Senior Dietitian, Diabetes Ireland. Free sugars have been classified as simple sugars added to foods by the manufacturer or consumer plus sugars are naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices.
The WHO (World Health organisation) recently published guidelines on sugar intake for adults and children stressing the need to reduce our daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of our daily intake. This is because we must all address our high intake of free sugars because of their association with poor dietary quality, dental caries, obesity and the risk of preventable diseases such Type 2 diabetes and Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).
Diabetes Ireland’s online resource has taken 3 everyday “lifestyle” situations, “Coffee Shop”, “Movie Night” and “Supermarket shopping”, and shown how much sugar you may be unknowingly taken and offers tips and suggestions on how you can make “smart” decisions to reduce your sugar intake using alternative or better choice products.
“We are not telling people to make huge changes that they cannot sustain over a long period. Instead, we are asking them to make “small changes” by simply thinking before they purchase” added Pauline.
For example, meeting friends and family in a local coffee shop for a cuppa and often a sweet treat too has become the norm. Many of the available choices in these cafes are laden with free sugars. A muffin could contain the equivalent of 8 teaspoons of free sugars, a slice of cake 14 teaspoons and a large hot chocolate with marshmallows & whipped cream a whopping 18 teaspoons. Small changes like choosing smaller serving sizes and unsweetened coffees – or sharing your usual scone or tea cake with a friend can all help reduce your free sugar intake.
The microsite, supported by MSD, also offers simple tips in reducing over consumption of free sugars for you and the family when doing the weekly supermarket shopping and on a visit to the movies or a movie night at home. It also allows visitors to first gauge their own sugar intake via a simple quiz and then offers great advice on how to make those “small changes” that will enable them to reduce their sugar intake across these 3 lifestyle situations without too much effort.
Recognising the challenges of living with diabetes, MSD is delighted to be able to partner with Diabetes Ireland and support the launch of the ‘Sugar Smart Campaign’. MSD is dedicated to empowering patients and advocating for them to live healthier lives with diabetes.” Commented Ms Mairead McCaul, Business Unit Director, MSD.
Small changes all matter – making a few changes to the way you eat and drink can make a big difference to your health over time.
Visit www.diabetes.ie/sugarsmart today and gauge your “sugar smartness”.