• Sugar-containing ingredients
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Sugar-containing ingredients

    Now that you know that there is little difference between brown sugar vs white sugar, that added sugar consumption in Australia is higher than it should be and how to read food labels, it is time to put it all together by looking at sugar-containing ingredients. What is sugar? The term sugar “refers to all carbohydrates of the general formula Cn(H2O)n” (1). Single sugars such as glucose and fructose are known as monosaccharides. Two monosaccharides linked together (e.g. sucrose = glucose + fructose, lactose = glucose + galactose) are known as disaccharides. Many sugars linked together are known as polysaccharides. Added and free sugars As a reminder, added sugars are…

  • Added sugar consumption in Australia
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Added sugar consumption in Australia

    Intake of added sugars has been associated with health issues such as weight gain and dental caries. As it happens with most developed countries, added sugar consumption in Australia exceeds recommended limits. Last week I explained the difference between added, free and total sugars. Briefly, added sugars are those that do not occur naturally in foods and are added before consumption. Free sugars include added sugars and the natural sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juices (1). Regarding recommended intake of added and free sugars, guidelines differ. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting the intake of added sugars but do not specify a quantity (2). The World Health Organisation (WHO)…

  • Brown sugar vs white sugar
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Brown sugar vs white sugar

    Have you ever found yourself in the supermarket staring at sugar packets and not knowing which one to buy? Which one is healthier: brown sugar vs white sugar? What about raw sugar? What is sugar? The sugar you buy at the supermarket to put in your coffee is sucrose, a disaccharide (= two sugars) composed of glucose and fructose. Types of sugar White sugar: this is your regular table sugar. Caster sugar: has a smaller crystal size than white sugar. It is used for coating bakery products and confectionery. Brown sugar: is a moist, golden brown, very fine crystal product, made using selected refinery syrups. Raw sugar: is a free…

  • misconceptions about sugar
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    5 misconceptions about sugar

    Here are 5 misconceptions about sugar I heard from colleagues, patients and friends. Something tells me these are probably common beliefs among the general public. 1. Gluten-free desserts are not very sweet Desserts that are made without gluten-containing ingredients can still contain a ton of sugar. Sugar is gluten-free, but not sugar-free. Exhibit A: Banana bread mix Ingredients: sugar, rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, raising agents, maize starch, salt, thickener, natural flavouring, vegetable emulsifier, natural colour Sugars per serve (75g): 15.8g (almost 4 teaspoons) 2. Organic yoghurt doesn’t have sugar Once again, organic does not mean sugar-free. In addition, it does not necessarily mean healthier or “good for you”.…

  • tonic water
    Blog,  Diet,  Drinks,  Health,  Nutrition

    Is tonic water good for you?

    Tonic water is a tricky beverage. It has water in the name, so it must be healthy, right? Is tonic water good for you? Unfortunately, most tonic water has high than soft drinks. This is bad news for people who like gin and tonic, like me. What is tonic water? “a carbonated beverage flavored with a small amount of quinine, lemon, and lime” (1) “a carbonated soft drink with a bitter flavour, used as a mixer with gin or other spirits (originally used as a stimulant of appetite and digestion)” (2) In case you’re wondering what is quinine, below are a couple of definitions (3) to satisfy your curiosity: “a…

  • fructose sweet poison
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition

    Fructose: Sweet poison?

    Fructose is a simple sugar (such as glucose and maltose) that occurs naturally in foods. It is a pentose (has 5 carbons). When one molecule of fructose combines with one molecule of glucose, it forms sucrose (a.k.a. table sugar). Years ago, agave syrup was all the rage because it was high in fructose. Fructose is known to have a low glycaemic index, meaning it does not raise blood sugar as much as glucose. Back in the 1960s, fructose was used to treat diabetes because it does not need insulin to be metabolised (1, 2, 3). That’s good, right? Not so fast! There has been plenty of scientific research on how…

  • sugary drinks
    Blog,  Diet,  Drinks,  Nutrition

    Sugary drinks

    One of the simplest things you can do to change your health and waistline is avoiding sugary drinks. Liquid calories in general are a bad idea if you are trying to lose weight because they are easy to consume in large quantities. In addition, most drinks sweetened with sugar provide zero to little nutrition. What are sugary drinks? In general, any beverages that contain sweeteners with calories are considered sugary drinks. I like to go one step further and include all drinks that contain a significant amount of sugar, whether it’s naturally occurring or added. This is because, as said before, liquid calories are easy to over-consume and can become…