Why reduce sugar intake?
We might as well admit it right away, sugar has a sweet taste that we all find enticing and enjoyable. It is the sweet taste that makes sugar appealing to our taste buds and provides a pleasant taste experience, which of course all food producers are fully aware of.
Considering all foods that contain sugar, it becomes practically impossible to exclude. However, excessive consumption of sugar is directly harmful and can be linked to a range of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver and, not least, dental problems. Here are some reasons why it is important to reduce sugar intake:
- Weight gain and obesity: Sugar is rich in calories but lacks almost all nutrition. Too much sugar can increase the risk of weight gain and obesity, which in turn increases the risk of other health problems.
- Type 2 diabetes: High sugar intake can lead to insulin resistance and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Reducing sugar intake can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent the disease.
- Heart disease: Excess sugar can increase the risk of heart disease by contributing to high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels and inflammation in the body.
- Liver health: Too much sugar can cause fatty liver, which can lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis.
Recommended sugar intake per day
The Swedish Food Agency recommends that we limit our intake of added sugar. In the normal case, an adult person has a daily energy requirement of 2000 kcal. The general recommendation is not to consume more than 10 percent of the total energy intake. This corresponds to about 50 grams (12 teaspoons) of added sugar per day, which includes added sugar in both food and drink.
To reduce our daily sugar intake, we should cut down on sweets, soft drinks, sweet drinks and baked goods, which is an effective method. But in order to get below the recommended sugar levels, we also need to review the usual food that we eat, especially semi-finished and ready-to-eat foods.
Health tests to measure blood sugar?
To keep track of your sugar intake and promote a healthy diet, in many cases it is enough to reduce or completely exclude the excessive sugar bombs in your everyday life. By being aware of the content of the foods you eat, you can actively monitor your sugar intake and work towards a more balanced diet. However, to evaluate sugar intake and its effects on the body, it can be beneficial to analyze several health markers to gain greater insight into blood sugar levels. Below we have listed some common biomarkers that are used for this very purpose:
- Glucose Measures the blood sugar level after fasting. Normal values for fasting glucose are usually between 4.2 - 6.0 mmol/L. Higher values may indicate prediabetes or diabetes.
- HbA1c The HbA1c concentration reflects your average sugar load in the blood over the next 2-3 months. HbA1c is primarily used to diagnose and monitor diabetes.
- C-peptide Used to assess insulin production in the body. C-peptide is a peptide that is formed at the same time as insulin during the breakdown of proinsulin in the pancreas. Insulin and C-peptide are released in similar amounts into the blood, making C-peptide a useful biomarker for assessing insulin production.
The health tests above are used to assess blood sugar levels and can give you information about sugar metabolism and any problems with regulating blood sugar levels. It is important to note that there are additional biomarkers and tests that can be used in more specialized contexts, but the above are the most common for measuring blood sugar in routine health screenings and diabetes diagnostics.