22 Feb 2014

Beat the sugar addiction

Arguably as addictive as cocaine and responsible for soaring levels of obesity, sugar is the most-wanted villain in our worsening national health crisis. Laura Tilt looks at why - and how - to free yourself from the clutches of the sweet stuff
Sugar. It’s everywhere. From the sweet syrup lacing your morning coffee to the soft cheese on your toast (often made from sugar-sweetened bread), the white stuff has slowly sneaked its way into our food chain and has become a habit we just can’t kick.
Which means we’re in trouble. A growing body of research has found links between high sugar intake and an increased risk of health problems including obesity, heart disease, cancer and even Alzheimer’s. But that’s not all.
New research demonstrating the addictive properties of sugar suggests we might be more hooked than we’d like to admit. The substance has become “the most addictive drug of our times”, according to Paul van der Velpen, head of Amsterdam’s health service.
Once an expensive luxury for the well-to-do, sugar is now a commodity for all, regardless of wealth. In fact, growth in consumption of sugar has been strongest in developing countries, corresponding to rising incomes and diet changes. According to a recent report from the Fairtrade Foundation, global consumption of sugar has grown by almost three per cent each year for the last 50 years............

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