Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sugar-coating a deadly health crisis

Does South Africa’s economy need a spoonful of medicine to make our sugar intake go down?

A study – the first of its kind in the country – has revealed that one in five South Africans is eating too much sugar, and that our collective sweet tooth is likely to cause a few cavities in the country’s coffers.
The study, known as the South African National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey (Sanhanes-1) and compiled by the Human Sciences Research Council, conducted surveys and interviews with more than 25 000 people across 500 different areas in South Africa. The findings showed that 19.7% of South Africans were consuming an excessive amount of sugar. Almost 21% reported a family history of high blood sugar as well.
Our sugar high is part of a global trend. A report called Sugar: Consumption at a Crossroads, compiled by the Credit Suisse Research Institute, says that the global consumption of added sugar has "increased dramatically" over the past few decades.
The average person now consumes 17 teaspoons (70g) of sugar and similar sweeteners a day. In certain countries it’s much, much higher. In the United States the average is 40 teaspoons a day, and in Mexico it’s 35.

In contrast, the World Health Organisation recommends no more than 10 teaspoons of sugar a day. Scientists in the United Kingdom have recently urged people to drop that to five, "if you want to keep your teeth for life".
Global sugar consumption is up 46% since 30 years ago, when it was 48g a day.

Author:  Thalia Holmes 
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