Sugar Free February

February 1, 2018

Did you think that all “Stop x for January” campaigns had ended with the first month of the year? Well, think again as Cancer Research UK has launched its “Sugar Free February” campaign! Should you give up sugar for a month or indefinitely? What are the dangers of a high consumption of sugar and how much sugar can you eat in a day? We answer all these questions and more!

In recent years, our daily sugar intake has been a frequent topic of conversation in the medical world. Thing is, too much sugar is bad for our health. Really bad.

Sugar is known to fuel certain types of cancers (breast, colon and oesophagus, among others). Recently, molecular biologists in Belgium have discovered that sugars stimulate tumour growth and the development of metastasis.  It’s well known by doctors that sugars increase the risk of heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and so on. It even speeds up the devastating and irreversible effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Put simply, you should not consume added sugars if you want to live a long and healthy life!

To raise awareness on the topic, Cancer Research UK has decided to encourage people to give up sugar. A good cause – raising money for cancer research – could help sensitize the public and drive as many fundraisers as possible off the sugar track.

This will truly be a challenge for the people who participate in “Sugar Free February” as sugars are often disguised by a variety of names: sucrose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, syrup, cane sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar and many more!

On top of this, sugary foods stimulate the same areas in the brain as drugs of abuse. You could literally be addicted to sugar, which would make stopping all consumptions for a month really difficult.

But, there is light at the end of the tunnel and, just like you can learn to eat your food without added salt, you can train yourself and really lower your daily sugar intake!

Here are a few tips:

  • If a packed food contains sugar in the first 3 ingredients, simply avoid it.
  • Same goes if the food contains more than one type of sugar.
  • Don’t fall for sugars labelled as “healthy”: agave, honey, coconut sugar and organic cane sugar all fall into the unhealthy sugar category.
  • Eat more protein (meat, fish, eggs and even vegetal protein powder).
  • Indulge in healthy fats like avocado, seeds, nuts, salmon, olive oil.
  • Eat sour foods; that will reduce your sugar cravings.
  • Up your fibre intake: vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds are all advised.
  • Avoid consuming too many processed foods and drinks.

The best advice we could give you is to progressively reduce your sugar intake without cutting it out completely. Natural non-added sugars are part of a healthy and balanced diet; Stevia, Manuka Honey and Dates are good sweetening options. The key is to limit your daily intake.

But just how much sugar should/can you consume per day? In June 2015, the World Health Organisation lowered the previous recommended amount to:

  • 5 grams or 9 teaspoons per day for men. That is the equivalent of 150 calories.
  • 25 grams or 6 teaspoons per day for women (or 100 calories).

That doesn’t include natural sugars that you find in fruits and vegetables.

If you decide against “Sugar Free February”, at least now you’re aware of the various health benefits to reducing your daily sugar intake.

If you do participate in “Sugar Free February”, get in touch to let us know about your experience!

You can find more information and tips on the Cancer Research UK website:

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