No, I’m not boring you again about sugar. ‘The truth about… sugar’ is an actual BBC programme which aired last week and you can watch it here (if you’re in the UK). There’s an iWonder info page too which is a very useful page for an overview of the sugar issue.
I had no idea this was even going to be on because, not having a TV licence, we don’t see any adverts for new programmes! But during our son’s Friday afternoon nap I felt like just sitting down for a while and browsed iPlayer to see if there was anything worth watching. And there was. And do you know what? After I’d watched it, my mum and a friend both got in touch with me to tell me that there had been a programme on about sugar. Love it.
So here’s a bit about the episode:
‘The truth about…’ is a ‘science documentary series tackling everyday issues that affect us all’. In this episode on sugar, Fiona Phillips looks into why sugar is being given a bad name. As well as doing the research, she gets four volunteers to reduce their sugar intake to 6tsp which is the recommended limit set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 6tsp isn’t a lot, especially compared with the 39tsp one of the volunteers consumed on average on a daily basis. But it was interesting to discover how they were currently sitting health-wise and how cutting down their sugar intake, it two cases down to just 1/4tsp a day, made a dramatic effect on their health.
The programme looks at the hidden sugar in ready meals and breakfast cereals, and why we still eat lots after we’ve drunk a sugary drink. Fiona goes out on the streets asking people how much sugar they think are in some products and in all cases (at least, all those shown), there was always more sugar than people thought. The programme also shows why we crave sugar and how you can be addicted to it as some of the volunteers experience withdrawal symptoms. They show you how hard it is to go sugar free, particularly if you don’t know how to cook from scratch, but how worthwhile it is.
Marty Jopson shows how sugar cane is refined to become table sugar. You can watch it here. What they don’t show in that clip is how they go on to find out how much energy is in sugar, and that because there is so much energy in sugar, if you don’t burn it off your 3 cups of tea a day, each containing 2tsp (equal to your 6tsp WHO limit), could become 4.5kg of fat. Scary stuff. You can also view another clip about how much sugar is in fizzy drinks and how manufacturers use a fraction of artificial sweeteners compared to sugar to reduce calories.
It’s worth watching this episode as an introduction to the issue, particularly because it explains the problems of sugar much more succinctly than I can. It doesn’t cover everything but it certainly covers the main areas that I read about in my ‘sweet reading‘, even non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Next time the episode is about calories. I imagine they’ll discover that not all calories are the same. For example, nuts are high in calories but are far better for you nutritionally than a bar of chocolate.