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I always thought a low-fat diet was the way to go.
Saturated fat was always the enemy,
because it raises your cholesterol.
And then there was a big war on this -
good old salt,
because it raises your blood pressure.
But now, it seems, something that's been innocently lurking
in our cupboards for centuries is the new public enemy number one.
It's sugar, and you know what?
I don't really know why,
so I'm going to go and find out.
'I'm Fiona Phillips and, like most of us,
'I love my sweet treats... Mmm.
'..but I want to discover the latest science
'about what sugar is really doing to us...'
This is the part of the brain that reacts
when you have sugary foods and sugary drinks.
'..and why you might be eating far more than you think.'
Oh, that is a lot of sugar.
'I'll be uncovering how you can spot the sugar
'in foods you'd think were sugar-free...'
Nearly nine and a half teaspoons.
- 20 teaspoons in that bottle. - Argh!
' clever cookery can get sweet results without adding sugar...'
And it's really delicious!
'..and revealing the sugars
'that even doctors say you can enjoy guilt-free.'
- You do like oranges? - I do, yes. - LAUGHTER
'I'm going to find out the surprising,
'and very sticky, truth about sugar.'
'We Brits love our sugar.
'It's one of life's great pleasures.
'And we're getting through over a million tonnes a year.
'That's 15 teaspoons each, a day.
'There's no getting away from it...
'that's more than we should be eating.
'I'm meeting up with four rather brave volunteers
'in Newcastle.
'I'm going to start by showing them how much sugar each of them
'is getting through every week.'
You've got a table each.
See if you can pick your table out.
You already have!
Yeah, that's me. Sweets.
That's terrible.
'They all suspect that they might have too sweet a tooth,
'and want to do something about it,
'so I'm asking them to cut back to just six teaspoons a day,
'a target the World Health Organization
'believes is the best to aim at.
'First up is Cara Patterson.'
Here's Cara's table.
It is predominantly brown.
Yes. Chocolate.
Lots of chocolate. I even know that you eat chocolate for breakfast.
I do, yes. Chocolate and coffee.
'Cara Patterson splits her time between working at a school
'and being home, looking after her four-year-old son, Noah.'
Sit next to us, Mam.
Is that an order?
'She worries that sugar is taking over her life.'
I'm definitely addicted to sugar.
I crave it.
The worst time that I want sugar is as soon as I wake up.
Breakfast always contains something sweet,
whether it's cakes, biscuits, chocolate...
Well, Cara, your average daily sugar intake...
was 28 teaspoons.
28 teaspoons a day.
That's not good, is it?
'So Cara's eating nearly five times
'the six teaspoons a day target
'that I want her to aim for.
'This is going to mean some big changes for her.'
Ah. You may well look nervous, Rick.
'Rick Shabilla comes from a Sikh family
'with a history of type-2 diabetes.
'He worries that his love of sugary Indian sweets
'could land him in the same boat.'
They're so colourful and they look so innocent,
but they are little assassins.
You've got your Indian desserts, which we know are very high
- in sugars. - Yeah, and these are normally accompanied
with some ice cream.
- Which would be adding even more sugars. - More.
I think, Pauline, you should do the honours,
or would you like to reveal your sugar consumption?
- No, please. - You want Pauline to do it! OK!
- 29 teaspoons per day. - In a day?
- A day. - A day.
That's really terrifying, to be honest.
'Like Cara, Rick is also nearly five times
'over where I want him to be.'
'Audrey Cannon feels her weight is getting out of control.
'A life on the road as an acquisitions manager
'has led to a diet of processed food and sugary snacks.'
I'll be going into meetings and things, and coming out of meetings
and jumping straight in the car.
It's just as easy for me to eat in the car as it is to stop off
and have something, because I just want to get home, sometimes.
- You're having quite a few supermarket ready meals. - Mm-hm.
You've got a chilli beef here.
That contains five teaspoons of sugar,
in half the pack, which is a portion.
I wouldn't even think to look at the sugar content.
I would maybe look at the calories or the fat,
but I've never ever thought of looking at sugar.
Your average daily intake was 23 teaspoons.
Oh, dear.
'So, to be on target,
'Audrey's going to have to cut
'pretty well three quarters of the sugar from her diet.'
'Simon Gallagher loves his fizzy pop...'
That's so cold.
'..but, at 26 stones,
he's becoming increasingly worried about his health.'
On a normal day, I'd have three or four cans of fizzy drink.
If I'm at home, it can be pretty much any amount,
until I feel...
like, sick, basically,
or until I haven't got any left.
Simon, you're smiling now.
Yeah, out of nerves.
The problem is that you have a huge amount of sugar.
As it stands, you're having
a whopping 39 teaspoons of sugar
- every day. That's... - Yeah, that's a lot.
Just to reiterate,
this is 57 kilos per year,
or 14,000 teaspoons of sugar
that you're putting into your body.
'Simon is six and a half times over
'and will have to make the biggest changes of all.
'Although current guidelines
'suggest we should aim at less than 12 teaspoons of sugar a day,
'the World Health Organization thinks
'if we can reduce this to six,
'it would have even bigger health benefits.
'It's going to be a tough target for my volunteers,
'but I'm hoping the more I can learn about sugar,
'the more I can help them cut back.
'The sugars we need to be looking out for are known as free sugars.
'These include the sugars found in honey,
'syrups and fruit juices.
'But the main culprit
'is refined sugar we add to food.'
'But what does refining sugar actually involve?
'And why does it make it a potential health problem?
'Biologist Dr Marty Jopson is going to help me find out.'
This is one piece of sugar cane.
- I've cut it in half. - Beautiful-looking thing.
So it's a huge grass that grows down in the tropics.
This stuff is packed full of sugar,
and the way we get it out - the first thing we have to do
is we need to break it down a bit, so here, look. Have a mallet.
Crikey. Where do I start?
Anywhere you want. Start at that end, OK?
That's it.
- OK. I think you've enjoyed that far too much. - I did, actually.
- I'll take that away from you! - Burned all my calories off, too.
Now what I'm going to do is give you this bowl.
You need to come round there,
catch the juice as it comes out of the mangle.
Here we go.
'Easier said than done, Marty.'
Yep, there's some spluttering out already.
'All sugars are natural and come from plants.'
- Are you all right, there?! - Yeah, this is, uh...
'Sugar cane and sugar beet are used in sugar production,
'as they have particularly high concentrations.
'All this refining is designed to
'make that concentration even higher.'
- I've safely delivered us some sugary juice down here. - OK.
'Carbon dioxide is then used to remove impurities like wax,
'gum and fats,
'all with the aim of giving us pure, refined sugar.'
That's it.
And now we just have to boil it down.
So what we have now...
is a thick syrup.
We leave that to cool and the sugar will start to crystallise out.
And what you'll end up with is this,
which is one I made earlier,
- which is... - Refined sugar.
- Refined sugar. There's a lot of treacle there, as well. - Yeah.
- But that... - Mmm.
- incredibly sweet. - Mm.
there's not that much of it, is there,
considering it came from all of this bulk here,
and all the effort it took to get it out!
Yes, exactly.
We're going to throw away all of this roughage and fibre,
so what you're left with here is essentially pure calories.
'So the refined sugar that we use at home
'has basically had all the fibre and roughage stripped away,
'to become pure energy.
'And Marty wants to show me just how much energy there is
'in the four grams of sugar that make up a level teaspoon.'
I've taken a teaspoon
- a level teaspoon, mind you - of icing sugar,
and put one in each of these tubes.
We've got two teaspoons of sugar.
- You take those. - OK. - Put them on first.
And what we're going to do...
blow down these tubes. Blow, mind you.
On three. Three, two, one.
So all that energy
in one level teaspoon of sugar.
Exactly. That's the energy you get if you eat it as well.
It's the same amount of energy.
'The flames may look impressive,
'but this energy is the real danger of sugar.
'If you don't burn it off,
'it can make you fat very quickly.
'But I had no idea just how quickly.'
- Imagine, say, you're drinking three cups of tea a day. - OK.
- You put two teaspoons of sugar in every cup... - Yup.
..for 365 days,
and imagine you're also not burning off that,
how much of my lovely fat substitute
would you end up in your artificial belly,
if all of your sugar that you put into your tea
was turned into fat and it wasn't burned off?
Six teaspoons a day for a whole year, and I didn't burn it off?
Correct. How many of these? One of these, do you reckon?
- One. Let's try one. - OK, let's do one.
'Sugar is one the cheapest form of calories.
'It's not just bad for your teeth.
'If you have too much, your liver will end up
'turning it into fatty acids
'that your body will store as fat.'
It feels really uncomfortable.
So this is the second of my bottles.
- I don't want more, but if... - There is more, I'm afraid. - Oh, my goodness.
Here we go. We're getting there. We're getting there.
So what you've got there is four and a half kilos
of fat - that's over half a stone.
I know - I can feel it!
And all because of your six teaspoons of sugar that you were having
every day for a whole year, that were excess to what you need.
Having a sweet tooth like that can lead to weight problems
which could be seriously dangerous.
'If just a few excess calories from sugar
'can cause issues over time,
'what have high-sugar diets done to my four volunteers?
'At Newcastle University,
'Professor Mike Trennel is going to find out.'
One of the problems with sugar is it allows you to
take large amounts of calories on very quickly,
which can make you obese.
'Mike uses hi-tech equipment to measure the body fat percentage
'of my four volunteers.'
At the moment, 51% of your body is fat.
That's a lot. It's half of my body weight.
'All four have levels that are higher than they should be,
'and it's this body fat that can lead to health problems.'
Gaining weight can link to heart disease, diabetes,
and other long-term conditions.
'And further tests show that my volunteers
'are already in danger.'
The background of high sugar,
high body fat - it's going to place more and more stress
on your liver, on your muscles, but mainly on the pancreas.
And over time, if you don't do something, you will be having to
take insulin through an injection, which is what happens with people
when they have type-2 diabetes for a long period of time.
'And, for Simon, excess fat has led to
'signs of a potentially fatal disease.'
Now when your liver has too much food inside of it,
it starts to have this long silent scream,
which is indicating to us that you have a condition
called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
And unless you do something, it's very likely that you are going to
go on to develop type-2 diabetes.
Then I'll do something.
'Sugar doesn't directly cause conditions
'like type-2 diabetes and liver disease,
'but because it's so energy rich,
'along with other carbohydrates and fat,
'it is one of the things most likely to increase your body fat
'and it's this fat that will do the damage.'
'Time for my four volunteers to start cutting back.'
I'd like you to try and get down to
six teaspoons of sugar a day,
which, for some of you, is going to mean
losing 80% of what you are consuming sugar-wise, at the moment.
It's a tough challenge, do you think you can do it?
- Yes. - Absolutely.
That's very positive. Good.
'While they're finding out the reality of cutting back,
'I'm going to be looking at three of the main sources
'of refined sugar in their diet to see what they're up against.'
Sweet treats - for most of us these are the biggest challenge.
I want to uncover the science behind why we crave them.
Savoury foods - why is the food industry putting sugar in products
that we'd assume are completely sugar-free?
And what is it that fizzy drinks do to our appetite
that makes some scientists say they're the biggest problem of all?
- # I can't think about anybody but you - Sugar
# Sugar, I can't think about anybody but you... #
'We eat more biscuits than any other country in Europe
'and sweet treats are where we Brits get most of our sugar from.'
# I can't think about anybody else but you
# Anybody else but you. #
'So for our volunteers these have to be the first things to go.
'But how tough will that be?
'It's the Sikh equivalent of Christmas Day
'and there's a big celebration in the local temple,
'a source of great temptation for Rick.'
This is Guru Nanak Dev ji's Gurpurab,
which is a celebration of the birth of our first guru.
This is our Christmas, if you will,
so there is a lot of sugary sweets and treats to celebrate this event.
This is torture.
That's "sugar" written in pretty much pure sugar,
deep-fried and then dipped in syrup.
It doesn't get any better,
but also doesn't get any more cruel than that.
'But Rick is being a good boy.
'So far he hasn't put anything sweet on his tray.
'But does that change the celebration?
'Like Christmas Day without the pudding?'
It is actually quite a... It's quite a big deal.
It's been quite challenging.
The guys teasing me doesn't help.
'Meanwhile, Cara is really struggling.
'Her husband Rob is refusing to dump the sweets treats.'
Right, I'm just going to shove all my stuff over there
so you've got...your stuff and I've got the stuff with less sugar in.
'So they're arranging their cupboards into his and hers.
'For someone who craves sugar, this is asking for trouble.
'But Cara is determined to fight temptation.
'She really wants to kick her sweet habit
'for the sake of her son, Noah.'
He's the ultimate motivation
because I want to be around for him as he gets older.
I don't want to be a burden. I want to be able to do things with him.
I don't want sugar to be haunting us in 20 years' time.
'But there is one thing that's holding Cara back -
'cravings that she just can't beat.'
Did cave in last night and had a bar of Galaxy.
No-one knows.
'But why do some of us, like Cara,
'get really strong cravings for sugar?
'I'm taking her to Reading University to find out.
'Neuroscientists here have been studying
'what happens to the brain when you eat sugar.
'And to see what is going on in Cara's head,
'she's being put into an MRI scanner that monitors brain activity.
'Cara is given sugar in the form of a sweet drink
'and changes in her brain are picked up by the scanner.'
OK, so, Cara, this is an image of your brain that we just took
when you were in the scanner.
This is a structural image, and on this
we can see parts of the brain
that we know to be involved in the reward system.
So for example, here we have the striatum,
and this is a part of the brain that reacts
when you have very pleasant experiences,
like when you eat things that you really like,
like sugary foods and sugary drinks.
And so, if we look at this image over here,
this time you can see the actual activity in this part.
So that is the reward centre.
And that's the brain saying, "Ooh, this is really, really nice.
"Wouldn't mind some more of that."
So Cara can happily keep feeding herself sweet things
and the brain will make her feel better.
What do you think, seeing this all mapped out?
It is really interesting
because often I crave, like, sweet things.
But a lot of the time, no matter how much I eat of them,
the craving's still there and I still want more.
Yeah, we are hard-wired
and biologically driven to seek out energy-dense foods.
So all of us have a primeval urge to seek high-energy foods?
- And our brains are telling us that? - Yeah.
Everybody likes sugary, sweet things because it's a natural drive.
What differentiates people who over-consume those foods
from people who don't,
we don't know what the biological differences are behind that yet.
So are sweet things habit-forming then?
If you have more brain activity underlying this craving
or this reward-seeking behaviour, then you're going to repeat it,
and that makes sense, so that is like a habit, yes.
So, there you have it.
That is why sugar is so hard to give up.
We are hard-wired to enjoy it, to seek it out.
And that was OK in ancient times, I guess,
when food shortages meant that high-energy, sugary foods
were literally the difference between life and death,
but things have changed now
and sweet, cheap, sugary foods are all around us
and that is not good for us
and, frankly, our DNA really isn't helping.
'But if your brain is egging you on to have a sweet treat,
'are there any that are better than others?'
I am confused as to whether any of this stuff
might be better for you than ordinary white sugar.
Right, well, let's have a look.
Here we go.
'You'll often hear that honey is good for you.
'That brown sugar is healthier than white.
'And that maple syrup is not part of the sugar debate.
'But what's the truth?'
So essentially, all of these are the same.
They are all from natural sugars from plants,
refined in different ways.
So it doesn't make any difference which one you use,
it's all just sugar.
I did not know that.
I thought that if I put a teaspoon of honey in my tea,
it would be much better for me than a teaspoon of white sugar.
'Brown sugar simply has a bit of molasses in it
'and has roughly the same calories as white, refined sugar.
'And a level teaspoon of honey in your tea
'will actually have more calories than a level teaspoon of sugar,
'because it has more nutrients and is denser.
'So there's no getting away from it.
'None of these forms of sugar are particularly good for you.
'But there is some better news.
'One of the surprising truths about sugar
'is that, if you do want a sweet treat,
'scientists say that fruit is the answer.
'That's because the naturally occurring sugar fruit contains
'comes with so much goodness, like vitamins, minerals and fibre,
'that it doesn't count towards your recommended daily allowance.'
But sugar in supermarkets isn't just limited to sweet treats.
It's actually in quite a few savoury products as well.
And often with a lot more sugar than you'd think.
I've got a bowl of pad thai noodles here.
It's a savoury dish, obviously so...
What do you reckon, sugar-wise?
- About that much, I think. - If you'd like to spoon in what you think.
- Two teaspoons of sugar in that dish? - Yes.
OK, you're a little bit under there because in fact there are...
Oh, stop!
- ..nearly nine and a half teaspoons of sugar. - What?
- That has nine and a half? - Uh-huh.
I'm eating those things!
That's probably more than a dessert.
'It's not just ready meals that can have added sugar.
'What about one of the healthier,
'apparently savoury, breakfast cereals?'
- So bran flakes, dry, not very appetising. - No!
But how many teaspoons of sugar,
if you would expect any at all to be in there?
Er, OK.
- One teaspoon? - Just the one, yeah.
Just the one. OK. I can tell you that there are in fact...
- Oh, my God. - ..three teaspoons.
That's horrendous!
Because I have that because I think that's the healthier choice.
'And it doesn't end there.
'This pack of sweet and sour chicken with rice
'contains 12 and a half teaspoons of sugar.'
'And there's over six teaspoons of sugar in this can of baked beans.
'Ideally, that would be your entire sugar intake for one day.
'I'm really surprised how much sugar
'is in some of our supposedly savoury foods.
'I want to know why manufacturers are adding it.
'So I'm visiting an international research facility in Surrey
'where scientists are employed by manufacturers
'to help them create the perfect products.'
So what have we got here, Alice? I presume it's soup.
It's tomato soup
and we've got two different recipes of tomato soup here.
One's got no sugar in it and just a little bit of sugar in the other.
So I'd like you to taste them, see what you think.
OK. Right, so I'll start with this one, I think.
Hmm. Not sure about...
- Mmm. - That one? - Yes, that was a "Hmm..." This was an "Mmm."
Well, that one has a little bit of sugar in it,
which I think is interesting, because just a tiny amount
can change the taste profile and make it taste a bit better sometimes.
It actually tastes delicious
and it brings out the taste of the tomatoes to me.
That's good. That's good, it's tomato soup.
But is that a good thing?
Isn't that what the manufacturers are doing,
making people like it with sugar in so they eat more, they buy more,
but they're also getting bigger as well.
Well, they do want to make things that people like,
at the end of the day.
'In fairness to the manufacturers, many are already making attempts
'to reduce the amount of sugar in their products
'and it certainly isn't just the case of the more sugar you put in
'the more you'll sell.
'Scientists here are experts at finding the precise degree
'of sugariness which will appeal to customers,
'the so-called bliss point.'
Today we've got nine testers who are here behind us.
- Sitting behind these...? - All sitting behind these little screens.
And we have five different recipes of tomato soup,
going from those that have very little sugar in them,
to a little bit more, and a little bit more,
and actually to a stage where some consumers might find it too sweet.
And the purpose of this exercise
is to find that recipe that the majority of them will like.
So what other products would you test in terms of its sweetness
- or added sugar? - Oh, a huge range of products.
Everything from yoghurts, or cheese or milk,
to ready meals or drinks or confectionary.
So, Alice, our tasters have emerged from their hatches.
They've tasted their soups.
What happens next?
OK, so we're here in our viewing facility.
We can see them but they can't see us.
This is a one-way mirror.
So we can listen in on the sorts of things that they're saying
about our tomato soups
and, in a moment, they'll vote on which one they think
has got just about the right level of sweetness in it.
So let's start off with sample 341, please.
Can you raise your hand if you preferred that sample?
Oh, that's interesting. Nobody has voted for the one with no sugar.
And 646, please?
Four votes for the 3% sugar.
That's the mid-range, isn't it?
And finally what about 763?
And two votes for the 6% sugar.
So the 3% is the winner.
That's the one they prefer.
And that information for the manufacturer of a savoury food
- is priceless really. - Absolutely. Yes.
Well, I have to say, I'm really surprised
that there's so much science
behind the exact amount of sugar that's being put into our foods.
Of course, ultimately, it's done to make the food taste nicer
so we buy it and it's good for business.
So the question we need to ask ourselves, really, is,
if manufacturers started taking sugar out of foods,
would we still buy their products?
'All this sugar in savoury food is making life difficult
'for acquisitions manager Audrey Cannon.
'With such a busy lifestyle,
'she's come to depend on fast food and ready meals.
'But, with a history of heart disease in the family,
'she's determined to kick the habit.'
I've just got in from work
and normally I would cook some processed food.
Such as these barbecue wedges.
And, as you can see, they've got a lot of barbecue sauce,
but when I checked on the label,
they had three spoonfuls of sugar in. And I was astounded.
I didn't realise. So I'm going to make my own.
'Trying to get her sugar consumption down
'means Audrey is completely rethinking her food choices.'
It's been a big wake-up call to see how much sugar is in what
I feel are healthy foods.
'But it's made the weekly shop a real headache.'
I haven't really found it difficult in what I'm eating, the difficulty
has been in what to buy, and looking at the sugar content as I've
been going round the supermarket - that's been the biggest challenge.
'Audrey is not the only one to struggle with food labelling.
'I do too.
'So how can we know when a product is high in sugar?'
Right, there's a lot of shopping here.
The traffic light system, which is the front of pack system, is great,
because you can see at a glance
if something is red, amber or green for different nutrients.
So take for example these sweet and sour chicken dishes -
all of these are red for sugars on the front.
High sugar value means it has got over 22.5g
in 100g of product.
'Traffic lights make it easy.
'But manufacturers aren't legally obliged to use them.
'Some don't and some also choose to indicate the sugar content
'of a portion rather than per 100g.'
If you take for example this pack of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, you do
have some nutritional information on the front of the packet, but it's
not colour coded so you can't see at a glance how much sugar is in that.
'With products like this, consumers have to examine the pack
'to find the information
'that some dieticians argue is the most useful.'
If you really want to see how much sugar is in this, you can look at
the back of the pack, and here we can see that for sugars it is 35g.
So that's high-sugar, because it contains more than 22.5g per 100g,
so it's a sugary cereal.
'This type of supermarket homework is particularly revealing
'with savoury products you might have thought were sugar-free.'
You'll see how much sugar it contains - 22.8g per 100g.
So it is a high-sugar product.
Something that you would have on your chips
which you wouldn't associate with sugar.
Yes, something you'd think of as savoury.
'With some products labelled per 100g and some per portion
'and not everyone using the traffic light system, I want to know why
'food manufacturers aren't making sugar content much easier for us.
'So I'm off to see the Food and Drink Federation,
'which represents the industry.'
Do you think if all food producers were made to adhere to
the traffic light system it would help? Because that to me
is clearer than all the other systems that exist.
I don't think there is a single solution to a problem
such as obesity, that is so complex.
But the traffic light system would help, because
if you see red next to sugar content that would make me put it down.
The information that is available on pack,
whether it's through the Reference Intake values, whether it's
through the traffic light system, is clear and is accurate.
Do you not think it would not be a whole lot clearer if the packet
showed how many teaspoons of sugar? Then everyone would understand it.
The reason for the amount of sugar to be labelled per 100g
or per portion in grams,
is in the Food Information for Consumers Regulation,
where all nutrients are treated the same
and a gram is a very well recognised unit.
When if you talk about teaspoons or tablespoons,
would you think four, five, six grams?
Well, it very firmly seems as though all the regulation,
all the information on the packets, most of which most of us
can't make much sense of, is all there for a reason.
It's to educate us and make sure we make the right choices.
But in the end the responsibility is all left to us
and I don't think, with the amount of sugar
they're putting in some foodstuffs, that right.
I really don't.
I think that more onus should be taken by the manufacturers.
'Added sugar in processed food
'means the best way ready-meal aficionado Audrey
'can get her sugar intake down to just six teaspoons a day
'is to cook everything from scratch.
'But, after a day on the road, it's a daunting prospect.'
The time's about half past six and I've just got in from work
and I've now got to think about what I'm going to have for tea.
So I'm feeling a bit sort of frustrated
that I can't just come in and cook something easy,
I've got to prepare and think about it and have plenty of ingredients in the house,
when really all I want to do is come in, have my tea and sit and chill.
'But is there a way for Audrey to have the taste advantages
'of sugar in savoury food in a healthier way
'and without too much hard work?
'I've set nutritionist Christine Bailey this challenge.'
Audrey, you're partial to the odd ready meal, aren't you?
So what tips have you got first of all
about supermarket ready meals, what to avoid?
Well, as you know, a lot of them contain sugar, but particularly
I would say the shop-bought sauces, things like the tomato ketchups,
the sweet chilli sauce, baked beans and sweet and sour sauce.
'The answer it seems is fruit.
'Remember, sugar in fruit doesn't count towards your daily allowance.
'So we're cooking a sweet and sour sauce using the natural sweetness
'of chunks of pineapple to replace refined sugar.
'And, to give it more kick without the calories, just add spices.'
So we're going to actually add... I've got here some chilli,
some garlic, you're doing the ginger.
I'm going to use some onion as well.
And I'm also going to add some Chinese five spice, which has
a lovely sort of Oriental flavour to it.
Throw in some onion, pepper
and soya sauce and we have a low-sugar sweet sauce
to which we could later add a bit of chicken or maybe prawns.
Mmm, that is delicious.
You could use that as a ketchup alternative.
Audrey, you and your busy life, this is simple, isn't it?
It is, because I could have this ready and then just cook the chicken when I get home.
- Just boil some rice, easy. - Or you could bulk-cook it, couldn't you,
- and put batches...freeze it, whip it out when you get home. - Yep.
'For Audrey it's problem solved.'
- Mmm! - Nice, eh? - Gosh, that tastes sweet as well.
No wonder you're smiling!
- I can't wait to get home and try it. - It is really delicious.
There's another source of sugar, though, that many of us enjoy.
It's this, fizzy drinks.
Is drinking sugar the same as eating it?
Well, according to some scientists the answer is no.
'Drinks can have a shocking amount of sugar in them and they are one of
'the quickest and easiest ways to see your sugar consumption soar.'
I've got a bottle of ginger beer here for you.
Ooh, my favourite.
- It's your favourite, is it? - Yes.
I want you to put the number of teaspoons
you think are in this ginger beer into that little pot, please.
That's eight teaspoons?
- Eight. - That is a lot.
- I know, but... - But it's nowhere near, actually.
You're kidding!
HE LAUGHS I have that every week.
It's no laughing matter.
It is!
Oh! You're kidding!
I'm not kidding.
- 20 teaspoons in that bottle. - Ugghhhh!
Don't pass out on me, please.
That's not fantastic!
'And that's not all.
'This 1.5 litre bottle of strawberry-flavoured water
'contains 18 teaspoons of sugar.
'This 750ml bottle of elderflower sparking water, 13 teaspoons.
'And this half-litre bottle of sports drink, 15 teaspoons of sugar.
'Most orange juice doesn't have any added sugar
'but it still counts towards your daily allowance.
'When you juice a fruit you're getting most of the sugar
'without much of the fibre or bulk.
'So a glass of juice can be packed with far more sugar
'than you might think.
'But how aware of we are this?'
I would like you to ladle into my little bowl there
the number of teaspoons of sugar you think might be in this drink.
Well, definitely this one.
I want to say it's healthy because it's juice
but I know there is sugar in juice.
Two teaspoons of sugar.
Four, four and a half, five?
OK, two.
I can tell you it is...
- No! - I'm afraid so.
Come on!
Oh, dear! oh, dear!
There's about...
just over eight teaspoons in there.
Gosh, that's an awful lot.
- Would you pick that up now, do you think? - No chance!
'But when it comes to sugar, what is the difference between
'eating oranges and drinking orange juice?
'Well, it has a lot to do with the amount of sugar you can consume
'in a very short time.
'I'm back to meet Marty to find out more.'
Meggy, in front of you you have a litre of orange juice, which is
made from 12 oranges, and in front of you, Kanika, we have 12 oranges.
And what we want you to do is we want you to eat or drink
what is in front of you, as much as you can... It's not a race.
We just want you to eat or drink
until you feel... you've had enough. OK?
- Are you ready? - Yes. - Away you go.
- You do like oranges? - I do, yes.
- I can't do any more, actually. - You're done? - You're full, yeah?
- And Meggy's still going. - Meggy's still going.
So, Meggy, you have drunk three- quarters of a litre of orange juice.
And Kanika, you've had...
- One and a half. - One and a half oranges.
So what does that mean?
What does that actually mean?
Well, Meggy, you have just drunk approximately 18 teaspoons of sugar.
- Wow. OK. - OK?
Whereas you have had three,
maybe three and a half, teaspoons of sugar in that.
And the reason that you've managed to eat less
is because the orange is full of fibre as well,
it is chock full of fibre and it's got two things it does.
First of all it keeps you satisfied,
it fills you up much more than the orange juice does.
The thing is, you can't eat as much oranges as you can orange juice.
- I mean, you couldn't eat 12 oranges in a day. - No.
And the second thing it does is it actually makes the sugar that
you have eaten release very slowly into your blood.
OK, so there are benefits. Despite the fact that fruit has sugar in it
there are benefits to eating fruit.
Definitely. Fruit is full of fibre, vitamins, it's great for you.
Fruit juice on the other hand, in moderation it's good for you,
but just be aware of the sugar that's in it.
'So, without realising it, not only has Meggy managed to drink
'five times the sugar that Kanika has eaten,
'it will get into her blood stream super-fast, causing a sugar rush.
'The Copper Box Arena in London's Olympic Park.
'Two netball teams are helping us with a fascinating experiment which
'gets to the very heart of the truth
'about sugary drinks - their effect on appetite.
'Some drinks can have as many calories in them as a meal.
'But will these liquid sugar calories
'fill you up like eating food will?
'Dr Jason Gill from the University of Glasgow Medical School
'is going to help me find out.'
So what's the experiment about, Jason?
OK, the experiment today is all about sugar in drinks.
We have two netball teams here. We're going to give one of them a drink with sugar after the game
and give the other group a sugar-free version of the same drink.
And then we're going to give them an all-you-can-eat buffet and see how much they choose to eat at that.
OK, I would guess that the team that's given the drink
with sugar in would therefore eat less food.
That's what you'd think. We'll see whether that is actually the case.
Do they eat fewer calories because they've already consumed
- some calories in their drink beforehand? - OK.
So we've got the red ones for the red team
and the blue ones for the blue team, and all I want you to do
is take a bottle and drink all of it before you leave the court.
So, if you'd like to help yourself.
'What the red team doesn't know is that they're guzzling sugary
'blackcurrant squash, which is packed full of calories.
'The blue team, equally unknowing, are drinking no calories at all.
'But will the red team, consuming all those extra calories
'through drink, eat less than the team that has had zero?
'When the girls have had their fill they're asked to leave the room.
'And while they're out we carefully weigh everything left on the table
'to calculate the amount of calories each team has consumed.
'They're in for a shock.'
We gave you these two drinks beforehand
but you didn't know that this drink had sugar in it
and this drink was a sugar-free version of the same drink.
And then we had you at this buffet
and we weighed out all the food beforehand and weighed out what
you had at the end and we calculated how many calories you consumed.
And this table consumed 1,000 calories more in total
than this table. LAUGHTER
And that is entirely because of the sugar content in the drink,
that's the difference?
Yeah, the difference is the sugar in the drink.
So when you drink the sugar in the drink, you consume
the calories easily, but your body doesn't really sense them very well
so they don't make you feel full,
so when you go to eat you don't eat any less food because the calories
don't make you feel full from the drink you had beforehand.
So what does that mean in terms of obesity?
Well, we know that sugar-sweetened drinks are a big determinant
of obesity - the fact that you're drinking
lots of these drinks is one of the big things responsible
for the fact that we're all getting fatter, particularly children.
'People who have lots of sugar
'in their diets do tend to put on weight.
'And that's partly because the calories in sugary things,
'especially sugary drinks, aren't the best for making you feel full.
'So you're more likely to carry on eating
'and therefore take on more calories.
'Simon used to down up to seven cans of fizzy drink a day
'and the calories in them have been a contributing factor to him
'developing fatty liver disease.
'He's been trying to go cold turkey and not drink any fizzy pop
'at all, but he appears to be having withdrawal symptoms.'
I have been a bit more tired than usual
but I expect that's probably more likely to do with the fact that
I'm not wired permanently from sugar, which I was, clearly.
I feel a little bit on edge at the minute.
Twitchy, sort of...
My attention span isn't as..
'And Simon isn't alone with his habit.
'Your average Brit gets through 50 litres of sugary drink in a year.
'So I'm back at Leatherhead Food Lab
'to see what that really means
'and whether there's an alternative.
'This is what 50 litres of water looks like.
'And this is the amount of sugar you have to add
'to make it as sweet as your average soft drink -
'nearly 5.5 kilos.'
Oh, my goodness me, all that sugar.
- Yeah, that is sweet. - Very sweet.
I feel it sticking to my teeth, yes, that is sweet.
'We're going to swap that tub of water for another one.
'Now let's try an experiment.'
OK, so we have the same amount of water here
and I'm going to put in 10g of this artificial sweetener,
Sucralose, so I'll chuck it in and we'll see what it tastes like.
Chuck it in.
OK, all of it's in. That's mixing up.
Right, Alice, it's time for us to taste this strange concoction now.
That's yours.
- Gosh, that's definitely as sweet as the sugar one. - Yeah.
And yet all that sugar that went into the other one,
5.4 kilos, and 10 grams of your artificial sweeteners.
10 grams of the Sucralose.
That's because it's 500 times sweeter than the sugar that we used.
But the only thing that would make alarm bells ring
with a lot of people is it's an artificial sweetener.
Along with artificial sweeteners comes all sorts of stories,
links to ill-health...
Well, it is a sweetener,
but all sweeteners are rigorously tested and very tightly regulated.
They are tested and tested and tested
and it takes years to develop a sweetener for use in food.
So we have to be very sure that they are safe to use in food
before we'd be allowed to use them.
'Artificial sweeteners undergo meticulous testing
'by scientists, which is then reviewed
'by the European Food Safety Authority
'before they can be used in food and drink.
'And leading scientific groups like Cancer Research UK
'say there's strong evidence that they are safe for humans.
'Although the debate rages on,
'the science seems to indicate that the 20,000 calories
'consumed by the average Brit in a year from sugary drinks
'are much more likely to cause you health issues
'than a tiny amount of replacement sweetener.
'Our four volunteers are reaching the end of their low-sugar diet.
'And they're coming up with their own solutions.
'Former fizzy-drink junkie Simon has been trying out fruit teas
'and flavouring water with large chunks of fruit.
'Eventually, through trial and error, he's made the breakthrough.'
Lemon, mint - it is really, really refreshing.
It tastes like a sensation compared with normal water.
'Just by cutting out the fizzy drinks
'Simon has dramatically reduced
'his sugar intake and he thinks he can feel the benefits already.'
When your pants are falling down in public, that's a good sign
that you've lost weight, and that has happened.
'Audrey has become the home-cooking queen, preparing everything
'she eats from scratch and using the internet to track down more
'sugar-free fast food, like do-it-yourself hummus.'
Basically, you just open a can of chickpeas,
add a few things to it and put it in a blender.
Totally home-made hummus.
And it's absolutely delicious.
- What do you think? - Looking slim. - No sugar.
'Rick is doing well.
'He has completely stopped eating sugary treats during the day
'but is consoling himself with a bit more night-time cheer,
'relaxing down the pub over a couple of pints
'and hoping he'll still make the grade.'
Are you eating your rice?
'And self-confessed sugar addict Cara?
'She's cut out the biscuits, the cake and sweets
'through sheer willpower.'
There is going to be things that come up, like Noah's birthday,
when I'm going to have cake and I'm going to have sweet stuff,
but I can deal with those days now,
whereas before it would have been every day rather than just one day.
'After six weeks, our low-sugar experiment is over
'and my volunteers are back at Newcastle University
'for the same series of tests they had at the start.
'Rick has gone from eating 29 teaspoons of sugar a day
'to seven, narrowly missing out on his six-a-day target
'but still well within current guidelines.'
Step on the scale for me.
'Cara, however, is down from 28 teaspoons a day to just three.
'Audrey, from 23 teaspoons to a quarter of a teaspoon.
'And Simon has gone from a massive 39 teaspoons of sugar a day
'to just a quarter of a teaspoon.
'All four were at risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
'So what has their new low-sugar regime done to their health?
'Cara and Audrey's results are very similar.'
The headline of it all is that you've lost
- just over six kilos in weight, or just over a stone. - Right.
So you've lost about five kilos, which is nearly a stone,
- so well done! - Thank you.
The changes that you have made to your diet by reducing sugar
have substantially reduced your risk of conditions like heart disease
and type-2 diabetes, as well as the wonderful things
it's done for your metabolism.
When you first came through we were looking quite a lot at
how your body was processing the sugar, and I'm pleased to be able to
tell you that, from the blood sugar results that we've taken, you've
improved hugely, which is relieving a lot of the stress on your pancreas.
'So Cara and Audrey have dramatically improved their health
'by cutting back on sugar.
'Rick, however, despite not eating any Indian sweets,
'hasn't lost any weight at all.'
Rick, you have substantially reduced the amount of sugar
you take in from 29 spoonfuls down to seven,
but at that same time you have increased your alcohol intake
and so any benefits that you would have had from reducing your sugar
are taken away because you're taking in more alcohol.
Got it, yeah.
'The volunteer Mike was most concerned about was Simon.
'He was showing signs of potentially fatal fatty liver disease.
'His challenge was the greatest of all.'
You've managed to lose just over six kilos, which is just over a stone.
- Good. - Well done.
Now, I'm pleased to tell you that the markers we had for
- fatty liver disease have gone down by 40 to 70 per cent. - Good.
That's more than good!
Yes, that was the most concerning thing.
And I couldn't be prouder of you. Well done.
Thanks very much.
'It's been a huge challenge.
'But for all four of our volunteers
'it's just the start of a whole new lifestyle.'
I'm really proud of myself
and I'm definitely going to continue with it.
I feel now that I've kind of sickened myself with sweet stuff.
It seems bizarre
but is it worth risking my health for a bar of chocolate?
Yes, you can socialise, be a Sikh, be an Indian, be a Geordie
and cut out the sugar.
You've just got to be a little bit more aware
and not give in to the peer and social pressures that are there,
which is something I really need to do.
Obviously I have a long way to go but, because the first steps are
the most difficult ones, I'm already moving that way so I'll continue.
If you come back in a year's time I'll be half the man I am now.
I've actually gone down two dress sizes.
I don't mind going shopping and buying new clothes.
I have no problem putting them in the charity bag
because I'm never going to wear them again
because I'm never going to be like that again.
The truth about sugar is that it can pile on the pounds
frighteningly quickly.
And all that extra weight can lead to a whole host
of very serious health problems.
It isn't the only culprit - too much of most foods will make you fat.
But I think sugar is the thing many of us tend
to binge on. Your body craves it and it often doesn't fill you up.
While most things, we know, are OK in moderation,
with sugar we really do seem to be hard-wired for excess.
So, sorry, but this time you really can't have your cake and eat it.
'Next time, the surprising truth about calories.
'We'll reveal why the numbers on the packet are often wrong.
'And how you can cut calories
'without cutting out your favourite treats.'
# I want a little sugar in my bowl
# I want a little sweetness down in my soul
# I could stand some loving, oh, so bad... #
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The Truth About Sugar

2201 Folder Collection
東東 published on February 2, 2017
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