Life & Health DSC_4151

Published on March 31, 2014 | by Meghan Murphy     Photography by Meghan Murphy


Sugar intake to be cut in half by World Health Organization

The World Health Organization says sugar intake is a health risk therefore it’s coming out with a new guideline to lower how much people should consume.

The recommended daily intake is currently set at 10 per cent (50g) of caloric intake per day. The new guideline would recommend not exceeding five per cent (25g) of sugar a day.

“Even 10 per cent [is] a tricky goal to meet because for some people it’s hard, they don’t know how much added sugars are in the foods they eat,” said Sielen Raoufi, a registered dietitian.

She said a lot of people might not know that even a tablespoon of ketchup contains one teaspoon of sugar.

The draft is being set in place to help reduce obesity and tooth decay.

“[Tooth] decay is actually on the rise in some populations,” said Dr. McConnachie, a dentist with the Ontario Dental Association.

Decay is a multi-factored disease, “and diet is a very important part because we can control it. We can actually make changes to diet and that will make a dramatic impact on the disease,” he said.

Dr. McConnachie said that people don’t always think about how much they consume.

“Lots of people say they’re going to drink unsweetened juices, but one glass of orange juice has about nine teaspoons of sugar in it. Coca-Cola is 10. So you have almost the same amount of sugar in juice and you think you’re being smart by choosing something that’s not pop but it’s actually very damaging,” he said.

But look at the line around 2pm at Williams Café with all the desserts there to tempt students this can make lowering sugar quite a challenge.

“From a student’s perspective, the availability of refined sugar products is readily obtained. For example, a candy bar costs a dollar 25, while a salad is seven dollars. Students who are on a budget often feel as if they have to settle for a candy bar,” said Michael OLeary, who is the Associate Dean for the school of hospitality at Humber College.

“Being university students, the reality of it is you’re in university, your diet goes to hell,” said Dr. McConnachie. “You’re on odd schedules, you’re diet is not three meals a day, [and] you’re going to be getting food at a whole bunch of different times.”

With all these factors playing a part it might sound impossible to cut down on added sugars.

“I think it’s doable but it would require a lot of sacrificing certain foods, but not all foods,” said Raoufi.

One trick she gave is to look out for the fiber content. “You want to look for those two numbers, the sugar and the fiber to be as close as possible.”

For example, having a cereal that has four grams of fiber and seven grams of sugar. The two numbers are close.

She also mentioned to choose high fiber crackers instead of cookies.

Dr. McConnachie said to “attack the things you can control, diet and oral hygiene are your two main ones.”

Raoufi said that Health Canada is revising the food labels on packages and Nutrition Facts tables. “Hopefully one thing that they could do would be to show people how much added sugar’s in there and just be more aware of what products to avoid or to consume.”

About the Author

is a third-year Media Studies student at the University of Guelph-Humber, specializing in journalism. She has a passion for critiquing and would one day like to become a book critic.

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