Sugar, sugar, sugar

Yes sugar is in the press again. But what does this mean for you?

Nothing changes from my point of view - I still say to eat food that remains in a form as close as possible to the way it came off the land, out of the water or from the animal. It's quite simple really.

Humans like sweet tastes - the appreciation of sweetness is innate and in evolutionary terms sweet foods are generally safe, while poisons are frequently bitter or sour so it's a very useful tendency.

There are lots of different sugars - in milk and dairy foods, in vegetables, fruits and even in grains. We all know the main culprits in adding lots of sugar to your intake - soft drinks, fruit juice drinks, confectionery and the like. But its also added sucrose (table sugar), honey, concentrated fruit pastes and fruit juice concentrates included in many processed foods we don't always think of as 'sweetened', including sauces and condiments, breakfast cereals, muesli bars, yoghurts and many snack foods that are a potential problem. Many of these are found in foods that are thought of as 'healthy'.

Meat, fish, unflavoured dairy foods, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fresh fruit have no added sugars and should always be the mainstay of your diet.

There is no nutritional reason for drinking most sweetened drinks (soft drinks).

Sugar is essential in home and some commercial food processing - it stops food-borne bacteria being able to proliferate when preserving and provides structure as well as an appealing mouth feel to things like ice cream and cakes that can't be mimicked easily without a variety of additives.

Whether you need to reduce the sugar you eat is very individual. And for very many older people it helps encourage eating when appetites can so often be challenged.

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