A new studyy led by researchers from The George Institute for Global Health (University of New South Wales) analysed a year’s worth of grocery purchase data from almost 7,200 Australian households. They found that households consume an average of 9 teaspoons of sugar per day per person, often as much as eleven teaspoons, predominantly among lower-income households.
The World Health Organisation recommends adults consume less than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. The grocery data is concerning as it doesn’t consider added sugar from food and drinks that one might buy outside the supermarket, such as those from cafés, restaurants, take-aways and vending machines.
Lead author and dietitian Daisy Coyle said that “while people might think they’re doing a good job of cutting back, sugar could be sneaking into their diet in hidden forms”.
“While some of these sugar-laden categories are more obvious, like chocolate, soft drinks, biscuits and cakes, there are some you wouldn’t expect, like yogurts and sauces.”
The study highlights a need for more transparent labelling to provide consumers with clear information to help them manage dietary sugars.
The George Institute’s Program Head of Nutrition Science, Dr Jason Wu, said the research highlighted opportunities to do better.
“Consumers deserve to know what’s in the food they are eating, and we strongly support having the amount of added sugar in a product clearly spelt out. This could also prompt the food industry to reduce the amount of sugar they’re pouring into processed foods,” Dr Wu added.
“Unfortunately, current government policy does not go far enough to support healthier diets - their sugar targets for the food industry are weak, and consumers still don’t have the information they need on the label to help them avoid added sugars when shopping.”
We waited a long time for our government to take action against type 2 diabetes and the obesity epidemic. So, when we launched the Defeat Diabetes Program, we knew it would be an uphill battle.
We know change takes time, but when it comes to type 2 diabetes, simply put, we don’t have time to wait.
The Defeat Diabetes Program is about following a real food way of eating. We focus on the benefits of a low carb diet (meaning a significant reduction in sugar intake) as the key to putting type 2 diabetes into remission.
We are committed to working for this cause, but ultimately, we need the government to step in and take greater action against this devastating epidemic.
We share the same sentiments as the researchers, “We don’t want shoppers to have to wait years for this information, we want people to be able to make informed choices now. Small changes can really add up,” Dr Wu says.
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