Dr Peter Brukner OAM

Why sugar is a men’s health issue

2 mins read

It’s official: Aussie blokes need to cut their sugar.

The sugardemic affects Aussie men even more than women

With men more likely to be overweight or obese, and men of 55 more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes, Aussie blokes need to cut their sugar consumption urgently.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures shows that 75% of Australian men are overweight or obese, versus 60% of women. With Australia in the grip of a sugardemic, it’s not surprising that what we used to call ‘beer guts’ might need renaming to ‘sugar guts’.

This is not just about bellies and bum cracks. A diet too high in sugar can also affect what’s on the inside and create a lifetime of limited opportunities and poor health.

Men are overrepresented in many of the obesity-related chronic disease statistics. Once they hit 55, there are far more men than women with type 2 diabetes – probably because of those obesity statistics above.

We know food affects mood

A recent study showed that a diet high in sugar makes men more likely to experience depression. This research examined 5000 men and 2000 women and showed that men who consumed more than 67 grams of sugar each day were 23% more likely to experience mental illness over a five-year period. This effect was not mirrored in women.

Stereotypically, men are supposed to prefer savoury food to sweet. We all know the cliché of the wife reaching for the chocolate while hubby grabs a burger and chips. But did you know how much sugar is included in many ‘savoury’ foods? From tomato sauce to salad dressing, many condiments are laden with added sugar. The same goes for the hamburger buns that wrap up all those cheeseburgers.

Teenage boys are at risk

Research also shows that the greatest sugar consumers in Australia are our teenage boys. The World Health Organisation suggests a maximum of 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, but Aussie male teenagers consume a massive 92 grams, or 18 teaspoons, daily. A lot of this comes from sugary soft drinks and energy drinks.

Could sugar even be responsible for the mysterious decline in sperm counts across the Western world?

Many blokes find quitting sugar a revelation regarding their weight and energy levels. Footy personality Peter Fitzsimmons for example, wrote that he ‘lost a quarter of my body weight simply by stopping the sugar and the grog.’

Be a role model

Another important factor is role modelling. With Aussie boys staring down the barrel of a lifetime of overweight and obesity, who better to show them how to eat healthily than dads/brothers/granddads/uncles?

If they can manage a few simple sugar swaps, life will get a whole lot sweeter for Aussie guys.

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