He consumption of free sugars in Spain reaches 70 g per day on average per person, almost triple the maximum of 25 g recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). That means we eat per year more than 25 kilos of this type of sugar, which are harmful to health. Our preference for sweet flavors and their impact on our bodies have led many researchers to analyze whether sugar is an addictive substance and, above all, to question whether How can we reduce its consumption? We explain the latter in the following lines.

Why high sugar consumption poses a risk

A growing number of investigations agree that the risks of sugar go beyond adding calories.

  • It is an inducer of all diseases associated with metabolic syndromeincluding the hypertension (sugar increases uric acid, which raises blood pressure), increased cholesterol and insulin resistance through the synthesis of fat in the liver, which can also lead to Type 2 diabetesIn addition to streamlining the process of agingcausing DNA damage.
  • It is also related to the caries: free sugars induce the proliferation of cariogenic bacteria and their metabolism originates acids that cause demineralization of enamel and dentin.
  • Some early studies also associate excess sugar with Cancer It is cognitive decline.

But not all sugars are the samenot all are harmful to health, as can be seen in the chart below.

types of sugars
Image: Eroski consumer

How to reduce sugar intake

What can we do to consume less sugar in our daily lives? We asked nutritionist-nutritionist Beatriz Robles, who gave us the following guidelines. The key: do it little by little.

  • Know what we eat. Identify which are the sources of free sugars in our food, reading the labels and knowing that they have different names. It should not be forgotten that natural sugars, such as those found in honey, juices or concentrated juices, are also unhealthy sugars.
  • Opt for versions without added sugars or sweeteners. For example, switch from plain flavored yogurt or sugary cereal to unsweetened whole grains. If we don’t like the taste, we can sweeten it ourselves with sweeteners and gradually reduce the amount. It would also be valid to use sugar, knowing that the objective is to add less and less.
  • Replace with other flavors. There are foods that naturally enhance flavors and deceive our palate. For example, cinnamon. We can use it to “sweeten” coffees or desserts.
  • Look for alternatives. The versions “Light” or “zero” of soft drinks can be an alternative to make a transition to a diet that does not incorporate this type of drink.
  • Eat the whole fruit. Not in juices, not in shakes, not crushed or liquefied.
  • Think small goals. It’s better to make gradual and permanent changes than radical changes that we’ll ban on day two.