Is Sugar the New Tobacco?

 pretty cupcakes

‘Sugar is the new tobacco,’ said Simon Capewell, professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Liverpool.

Being an ex-sugar addict this news caught my attention right away and love what is happening in Great Britain. I am proud of them.

‘Action on Sugar’  has formed a campaign to tackle obesity and diabetes in the UK.  They are putting pressure on the government and industry to reduce the sugar content of food and drinks by up to 30%.   The idea is to halt the obesity epidemic and reduce chronic disease in a practical way that will work and cost very little.

“The science says that sugar is dangerous exclusive of its calories,  just like alcohol, the alcohol of childhood”. says chair of Action Againt Sugar Professor Graham MacGregor.

Marketing ploys to cut calories is not working. The industry must lower the sugar content of processed foods, UK doctors are saying.  Action on Sugar says asking firms to make voluntary changes has failed.  Political attempts such as New York’s fat tax on non-diet soft drinks often fail because of powerful resistance from the food industry.

hidden sugar
There is a lot more sugar in the foods around us than we think!

What they plan to do is educate people about ‘hidden sugars’ and get manufacturers to reduce the ingredient over time. The goal is an eventual sugar reduction of 20% to 30% in three to five years. Done slowly like this consumers will not notice the difference in taste.

 “Added sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever and causes no feeling of satiety.  Aside from being a major cause of obesity, there is increasing evidence that added sugar increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and fatty liver.” says Dr Aseem Malhotra, cardiologist and science director of Action on Sugar.

Action on Sugar has a goal to tackle the obesity epidemic both in the UK and worldwide.

“the cost of obesity to the NHS is approximately £1 billion a year, with an additional £2.3 to £2.6 billion per year to the economy as a whole. If the current trend is not halted, by 2010 the cost to the economy alone could be £3.6 billion a year, and by 2050 it could be £45 billion a year, according to experts.”  Medical Research Council

Yogurt, considered 'healthy' by some, often has hidden sugar.
Yogurt, considered ‘healthy’ by some, often has hidden sugar.

Some of the big sugar culprits are:

  • Coca Cola or Pepsi – 1 can has 9 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Flavoured water – Glaceau Vitamin Water has four teaspoons of sugar in a 500ml bottle.
  • Sports drinks – 32 ounce Gatorade has 14 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Yogurts – even zero-fat yogurts can contain five teaspoons of sugar.
  • Ketchup – 3 tsp of ketchup has 1 tsp of sugar.
  • Ready meals – Sharwood’s sweet and sour chicken with rice 6 teaspoons.
  • Heinz tomato soup has 4 teaspoons
  • Mars bar has 8 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 Slices White Bread contains 6 teaspoons of sugar

Studies link Sugar to Obesity and Diabetes
A Harvard medical school study showed that the sugar in one can a day is enough to add four kilos or ten pounds of body fat a year. Drinking more than one can a day increases the chance of obesity by sixty percent.

woman eating donutHow much sugar do we consume?

  • The average British person consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day.
  • The average American consumes 22.2 teaspoons of added sugar each day.
  • The average Canadian consumes 26 teaspoons of sugar per day!

This latest news from Britain makes me wonder why we are not doing what they are here in North America.  Being overweight and obese is even bigger over here.

I was once a sugar addict!
I was once a sugar addict!

Being an ex-sugar addict myself, I struggled with this for a major part of my life.

My mother was a sugar addict and raised us on sugar. For instance, I did not like milk so she would by chocolate milk with sugar in it to get me to drink it.  She was doing what she thought was good for me.  Little did she know that milk did not agree with me.  Also, for supper, we would sometimes have a chocolate bar, pop, and chips.  Not surprisingly I spent my childhood and much of my adult life being sick.  I am grateful not too sick and tired anymore and not be a full-on sugar addict.

I have researched and created a lot of info on sugar:


vital healt assessment

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3 thoughts on “Is Sugar the New Tobacco?”

  1. I’m actaully a “sweet person”, loves to eat sweets shall I say. I think almost every food I eat contains sugar that makes me bigger and bigger… huh! what should I do?

  2. There is a new movie out all about the food industry and sugar and how it’s affecting our kids. Very sad commentary on the state of our world, but so important to see and get informed. It’s called FED UP. Thanks Diana, for all the work you do in helping us to get and stay health with food…the best medicine there is!

  3. Sugar detox is a hard, especially in the beginning, but it is worth trying it. Start to cut the most obvious and in a week you’ll feel full of energy.

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