I have often remarked that my Grandad most likely never drank a can of Coke. What is certain is that fizzy drinks became entirely normalised in my generation and now we now have multi coloured plastic bottles on display in every garage and supermarket. Some of these drinks claim to give you wings, others make you much better at sport! All of them contain ridiculous amounts of sugar and an acidity that is very harmful to your teeth. And no, the diet ones are not a whole lot better. We are being bombarded with sugar and we seem to enjoy it very much. The Donut craze in Blanchardstown when Krispy Kreme opened their doors had to be seen to be believed. In 2018 there were riots in France when Nutella discounted their supersized tubs in some supermarkets. I kid you not, riots! It’s time we realised that sugar is a highly addictive drug. It is reported to be eight times more addictive than cocaine.

We can survive perfectly well without synthetic sugars, but they are incredibly hard to avoid in processed foods. The food industry ensures that we are entirely addicted to sugar from a very early age. We were reared on Farley’s Rusks and now it’s the small highly sugared kiddies’ yoghurts. If we start our children on a high sugar diet it becomes extremely difficult to break the habit.

The industry knows this very well. Try offering your child free access to anything they want from the kitchen. They won’t come back with a stick of celery. A recent US study found that 62% of American teenagers consumed at least one Fizzy drink every day. This is equivalent to eighteen bags of sugar annually from just these drinks! They will choose the sweetest thing they can find. Too much sugar is bad for our health and fitness. ? I’m not talking only about tooth decay but more importantly Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity.

It’s very hard for the Mum who’s shopping for her family. I’m not suggesting that its easy. The kids want sugar.  It’s very difficult to interpret labels and quickly assess the sugar content. The food industry keeps it that way. Innovative award-winning advertisers get paid millions of dollars to make us crave their sugary products and to disguise the sugar content. Why else don’t they put sugar lumps on their packaging so we can see what we are buying? The average family sized jar of Nutella contains 54 spoons of sugar. And of course, it is not a chocolate spread. It’s Hazelnut. That’s what makes it ‘healthier’. Just as Coco Pops are ‘Rich in Vitamin E’. Pardon me but aren’t they covered in chocolate? Would you be happy to give your child a few squares of chocolate for breakfast?  

You only have to see who the big players are in the food sector and they are the sugar giants Nestle, Coca Cola, Kellogg’s Mars , etc. These guys have massive lobbying power just like the Gun lobby or the petrochemical industry. Make no mistake:  Sugar rules ok.

For the record: One teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams. We should try to keep our daily intake to six teaspoons of processed sugar or 25 grams. Try it for a while, it’s quite a challenge. Grandad would have managed it far more easily!


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