With the recent news that half of the population of the UK will be obese by 2050 being classed as an underestimation that lead me to think WHY?

What has changed?

As a child I can’t remember anyone being obese and only the odd child at school being a little chubby although in this day and age they would now be classed as normal.

So what has happened?

There isn’t a day goes by when there isn’t a news story about obesity and the health risks involved, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, gallstones, infertility, depression, anxiety, stress, some cancers………..the list goes on.

As a fitness instructor for the last 20 years I have noticed a huge change in the size of clients that attend my classes, and in particular the younger adults who are definitely getting bigger all over.

When I was growing up we ate butter we had dripping on our toast, milk arrived in milk bottles and my brothers and I argued as to who would get the cream that sat on the top of the full fat milk, and I loved the crispy skin on chicken!  My mum cooked every meal from scratch and always baked on Saturdays.

Then during the 1970’s we saw the start of convenience foods, I remember my mum trying the Vesta Beef Curry. My dad hated it as it reminded him of being in the forces, but we were fascinated by this food that came in a box. Then Mr Kipling started making his cakes and again as children we thought they were far more exotic than the lovely home-made cakes my mum would make.

From this time onwards, food and our attitudes to it changed, mums were freed from the kitchen to pursue careers and it seemed perfect for everyone.

Then came the start of the “low fat “era and diets. The food manufacturers made everything low fat, the trouble is fat makes food taste good and so they had to make it taste better and so they added carbohydrates in the form of high fructose corn syrup and sucrose.

For over 30 years we have gradually been eating more and more sugar- but its hidden sugar. In fact whenever I talk to my class participants about sugar they all scream at me-

 “but I don’t eat sugar”

 ” I gave up taking sugar in my tea and coffee years ago”

 In fact sales of bags of sugar have gone down over the last few years but this is the sugar that we can see, it’s the sugar we can’t see that is the problem.

Did you know that there are 7 spoons of sugar in a can of coke?

There are 8 tsp of sugar in an average size white loaf (the same as a Mars bar)

Heinz classic tomato soup has 5tsp (have you ever added sugar when you are making soup- and 5 teaspoons of it????)

A 30g serving of the dieter’s favourite cereal Kellogg’s Special K contains 3 tsp? 419

So how can you cut down on these HIDDEN SUGARS?

My top 10 tips:

  1. READ the labels of food
  2. Cook all meals from scratch
  3. Avoid convenience foods as much as possible
  4. Don’t drink your calories- cut out all fizzy drinks and limit fruit juices, aim to drink as much WATER as possible.
  5. Bake home-made cakes using as little refined sugar as possible
  6. Look out for more natural ways to sweeten food, cinnamon, dried fruit, local honey.
  7. Eat MORE green vegetables and less fruit
  8. Eat less sauces, ketchup. Mayo etc all contain lots of hidden sugars, a tablespoon of ketchup contains about a tsp of sugar
  9. Don’t buy anything “low fat”
  10. Avoid anything that ends in OSE  sucrose, fructose, maltose etc

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