Prevalence and Importance of Sugar

Lizzie Parry’s text The Truth About Sugar seeks to expose sugar’s prevalence as well as how harmful or beneficial it is to one’s wellbeing. Sugar is something that almost everyone craves. It is quickly becoming a public health problem. The added sugars contained in honey and refined foods are what make up an individual’s ten percent energy consumption, according to the World Health Organization (Parry). Case studies, details, and experts are three of the text’s most important features. The data presented plays an important role in the article since it guarantees its credibility. The formal procedures used, assured that the information was accurate and define so that the conclusions made about sugar and its importance in health would be valid. The text also includes a study done on four volunteers to unravel how one can cut down sugar and how it is easy. The women in this article are subjected to processed ready to eat meals and sugar cravings to tackle their hunger. This essential element was vital as it enabled a comprehensive and non-bias investigation of the underlying principles concerning the event within the context of a real-life (Parry). The involvement of experts in this text, was because they are in the know of what goes on and what works. Their expertise enables them to give advice and strategies to combat a situation, in this case, large amounts of sugar intakes. This research focuses on how sugar intake is linked to diabetes with the level of income being a significant factor. Though sugar regulation is essential legislation of the production of sugar will be challenging. The evidence on the startling Americans’ sugar consumption also will help in making the text more understandable and applicable.

The analysis of the text’s key points is important. The revelation of the average intake by World Health Organization to be a whopping 95 grams of free sugar a day in both Central and North America. It is worse in South America as the daily grams intake is 136 per day and 101grams in Western Europe. This information is alarming and shows how people are overeating. Increased food intakes of specially processed foods and soft drinks contribute significantly to this high consumption. The text explains how experts revealed that our brains reward us for consuming sugar and also the relationship between the intakes of too much food after drinking a soft drink because of satisfaction failure due to calories. The case study was done on the four individuals especially on a mother who overeats. She is driven by her cravings for sugar every morning, resulting in her breakfast always containing foods like biscuits and cakes that are high in sugar. WHO’s expert recommendation of only six teaspoons a day or 25grams is seen as a conditional recommendation. This recommendation’s desirable outcomes outweigh the undesirable effects, however, needs to be more clarified before implementing it as there is no reliable evidence on the issues that are important to public health. Reduction to 5% intake, however, comes with added benefits for example reduced dental carries according to WHO.

Diabetes links to Sugar consumption either directly or indirectly, and environmental factors like income contribute significantly. Diabetes is a condition characterized by elevated blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 2 is the most common resulting from a combination of environmental factors for example income and ethnicity and also genetic risk factors. The relationship between high sugar intake and high occurrence of type 2 diabetes is because of the indirect link between obesity and high sugar diet. Drinks sweetened with sugar provide a direct link to type two diabetes (LeRoith). Excessive consumption of unhealthy food and soft drinks only results in increased calories and no added nutrition value, therefore, increasing body fatness. Obesity changes the metabolism in the body causing the release of fat molecules to the blood, reducing insulin response and sensitivity. Low income is indirectly associated with higher diabetes prevalence but directly linked to high obesity incidence especially among women. Individuals in low-income neighborhoods are not able to access healthy food. The absence of parks and the perception of unsafe neighborhoods thus reduced walking, deters physical activity and a communal sense that helps fight adverse health outcomes. Also due to loss of income, those with the condition are not able to manage it. Physical activity and healthy dieting are all keys to controlling weight (Dinca-Panaitescu et al.)

Effective legislation of sugar production is not that easy. Due to the rise in consumption of beverages sweetened with sugar that result in heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, countries have been compelled to reduce the intake of these drinks (World Health Organization). These beverages are linked to insulin resistance markers and also weight gain due to insufficient satiety properties of the liquid sugar. It has effects on food acceptance and preferences. There has been several incidences of market failures as individuals consume sugar with little information influence by extensive advertising and also because of the adverse health outcomes that result to excess costs of healthcare. Levying a tax on wholesalers and producers that would be passed to retailers could help consumers be aware of the price when buying (Chriqui, et al.). Fees collected would go a long way in supporting nutrition and obesity prevention programs. Objections like the substantial effect on sales and taxes being a blunt instrument in fighting obesity have caused difficulties in implementing a sugar regulated environment.

WHO recommends a maximum of six teaspoons of sugar a day while an average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons, three times as much. 19.5 teaspoons translate to nearly 66 pounds a year of added sugar (White). Adolescents and children in the U.S obtain approximately sixteen percent of their total intake of calories from solely added sugars. The U.S dietary guidelines commend that Americans should limit their discretionary calories which include both fats and added sugars to five to fifteen percent. For Americans, 500 calories a day is accounted for by added sugar equitable to consuming ten bacon strips. Furthermore, an average American consumes fifty-three gallons of soft drinks per year, which is probably the reason for the rising obesity epidemic especially among the youth (White).

Conclusion

Evidence shows that no other types of food have significant individual associations with diabetes after for obesity and other confounders were controlled. Alcohol use and sedentary behavior had no dependence on the impact of sugar on diabetes. Degree and duration of sugar exposure showed a significant correlation to the prevalence of diabetes. Statistically, the difference in the availability of sugar has explained the difference in prevalence rates for diabetes, contributing to health at the population level. The use of real-life experiment in how one can reduce his or her sugar intake was an eye-opener to many. Sugar intake reduction to the recommended 5% depends entirely on personal responsibility.

Works Cited

Parry, Lizzie. “The Truth About Sugar”. MailOnline. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2999271/So-quit-sugar-4-people-used-eat-119-teaspoons-day-s-10-New-documentary-reveals-just-cut-down.html

Chriqui, Jamie F., et al. “A typology of beverage taxation: multiple approaches for obesity prevention and obesity prevention-related revenue generation.” Journal of public health policy 34.3 (2013): 403-423.

Dinca-Panaitescu, Mihaela et al. Diabetes prevalence and income: Results of the Canadian Community Health Survey. Health policy 2 (2011), Volume 99.

LeRoith, Derek. Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes: From Science to Therapy, 2012.

White, John R. “Sugar.” Clinical Diabetes (2017): cd170084.

World Health Organization. Global report on diabetes. World Health Organization, 2016.

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