Forget cancer causing meats, tackle sugary treats

Time seemed to freeze last week as people digested the World Health Organisation’s report linking processed meats to cancer, but perhaps we should be more worried about the world’s addiction to sugar and the effect it’s having on our bodies.

The link between red meats and cancer is not something new, it has been around for centuries. We can all picture the caveman devouring  a piece of steak, and our ancestors before us have all feasted on similar foods, but usually died long before any adverse health effects could occur.

The report published gathered momentum quickly, and it soon became the talk of the internet. It was all people wanted to discuss. If only people were as quick to realise that our consumption of sugary foods is far more damaging than eating these processed meats ever would be.

Sugar is essential, your body would shut down without it. Natural sugars will benefit your health, but it’s the artificial and added sugars that cause health problems, and is one of the leading causes of heart disease today.

Americans lead the way in sugar consumption worldwide, with an an intake of more than 126 grams of sugar a day, according to data research. This is way above the World Health Organisation’s recommended intake of about 45-50 grams.

In Britain, a more hands on approach has been called for, with experts claiming a ‘tax on sugar’ could help reduce the amount of sugar the country is consuming.  Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has already introduced a 10 per cent sugar tax in his restaurants in an effort to combat the problem now.

“I’ve seen first-hand the heartbreaking effects that poor diet and too much sugar is having on our children’s health and futures. Young children are needing multiple teeth pulled out under general anaesthetic and one in three kids is now leaving primary school overweight or obese,” Oliver said.

It’s estimated that sugar kills 180,000 people every year, and could be indirectly linked with several million deaths through obesity, heart disease and diabetes. But nobody seems to want to talk about it. We continue to consume huge amounts of sugar, and governments are doing little to combat the problem.

Eating a little meat is not going to cause you much harm, it’s poor lifestyle that will. But the amount of sugar we consume has the potential to be very problematic somewhere down the line, and it’s time to tackle the problem now.

David Clarke

Image credit: urbantastebud

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