Health Canada Looks at Sugar Guidelines

When looking at the side of a food label sold in Canada, you will see often see fat, sodium and vitamin content presented as a percentage of recommended daily consumption. Interestingly enough, sugar, though present on the label, is still not displayed as a daily recommended consumption value.

That’s because Health Canada hasn’t yet established concrete recommendation guidelines for daily consumption of sugar. With recent proposals in Ottawa, this might change. New Health Canada guidelines are proposed to have a total daily intake of 100 g of sugar, along with easier to understand and more comprehensive information on labels.

The main debate surrounds artificially added sugar rather than naturally occurring sugar (like the sugars found in fruits), for the reason that added sugar adds caloric value without many nutritional benefits.

High sugar diets aren’t good for anyone, but older folks are particular susceptible to the adverse effects. With aging comes a weakened immune system, and high blood sugar (which results from a high sugar diet) can compromise the immune system function. Additionally, sugar consumption has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, dementia, among other conditions.

Sugar hasn’t historically always been on the radar for health authority bodies to regulate – only recently have health organizations begun to establish any guidelines. Currently, Canada and United States do not have official guidelines for sugar intake. However, with the last few decades with the prevalence of sugar conscience diets such as Atkins, many people have become increasingly cautious about consuming sugar.

You don’t have to be chowing down on Devil’s food Cake to be consuming over your recommended daily sugar intake. Added sugar can be very, very sneaky; cereals, dressings, condiments, fruit juices and beverages often have skyrocketing sugar values which go unnoticed and can take a person well over their recommended amount.

Make sure you’re making healthy choices. Choose less refined foods (baked goods, white breads or rice, anything processed with added sugar etc.), and opt for whole foods (rice, barley, quinoa, oats, whole fruits). For diabetics,  less fruit and carb consumption might be an option, however this is for the individual to discuss with their doctor.

A sugar conscious diet is a good (and delicious!) diet that everyone can benefit from.

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