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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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Limit sugar and recover the Mediterranean diet

Sugar has become one of the biggest headaches for public health agencies, both nationally and globally. Its high consumption is associated with a multitude of health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular risk factors, diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

The manifesto ‘For a responsible consumption of sugar’ has been prepared by the insurance company DKV with the collaboration of the nutritionist Carlos Ríos, champion of the so-called “real food” and Dr. Jesús Vioque, professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University Míguel Hernández.

It gives some simple guidelines to follow a healthy diet based on traditional Mediterranean culture and the customs of previous generations, which includes a considerable limitation of the consumption of this “sweet poison”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) establishes that the consumption of free or added sugar should not exceed 10% of the daily energy intake, which in a standard diet of 2,000 kcal, would represent about 25 grams.

Even so, the recommended intake for additional health benefits is 5%, which would mean consuming no more than 12.5 grams per day.

In Spain, according to the Anibes study, the average total sugar intake is 76.3 grams / day, of which 33.9 grams are added sugars.

One of the key points is awareness about its consumption. Sugar is hidden in soft drinks, industrial juices, pastry products, and in processed dairy products and derivatives such as ice cream, cereals, cookies or jams; products that we consume on a regular basis and make us exceed their consumption without knowing it.

In this sense, the manifesto points out that inequalities derived from socioeconomic factors can be one of the major determinants of the population’s health.

Food price, convenience, and taste remain deciding factors when shopping, and sugary ultra-processed products are extremely cheap, convenient, and palatable.

The solution to the problem

This is where the so-called “royal food” comes into play. In the past, our grandparents were in good health because they did not understand macronutrients, but food and how to combine them according to their seasonal availability. The consumption of added sugar was an exception.

Therefore, experts stress the importance of recovering Mediterranean cuisine based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, legumes, nuts or olive oil, highly beneficial for our health.

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