Thank you to Decelis Luca, Zammit Kaylon, Knaan Gaze, Bonnici Raiza (Form 4 CCP students) who cooperated to fulfill this YRE article project.
On Tuesday, 29th October 2019, a group of Applied Science CCP students launched a project to create awareness about the risks of extra sugar in our daily diets. Coordinated by their Science teacher, Martin Azzopardi sdc, students found that extra sugar in our daily diets has many negative health effects.
Nowadays many people rely on processed foods for meals and snacks but these products very often contain much added sugar. Every 4 grams of sugar amount to one teaspoon of sugar and so one must start noticing the amount of sugar in every packet or tin of food that is purchased from the food supermarkets. The main risk of extra sugar in our diet is obesity.
Quoting the https://www.pwc.com Malta has one of the highest rates of adult and childhood obesity worldwide. In fact over a quarter of the Maltese adult population over 15 years is obese. The prevalence of obesity increased from 23% in 2002 to 25% in 2015 – moving farther away from Malta’s 2020 target rate set at 18%. This study also reveals that adult obesity cost Malta €36 million which is a big economic challenge to our society, not only in terms of the additional healthcare spending but also in terms of the opportunity costs to government, individuals and society.
According to healthline.com, scientists say that extra sugar consumption in our daily diets is the major cause of obesity and many chronic diseases. Extra sugar can cause:
- Obesity: too much added sugar in our daily diets increases the risk of weight gain and fats in our bodies.
- Heart Disease: too much added sugar increases the risk for heart disease factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and inflammation.
- Acne Problem: High-sugar diets can increase our bodies’ androgen secretion, oil production and inflammation which can increase the chance of developing acne.
- Type 2 Diabetes: A high-sugar diet may lead to obesity and insulin resistance (a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels), both of which are risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
- Cancer: Too much sugar can lead to obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for cancer, mostly oesophageal cancer, pleural cancer and cancer of the small intestine.
- Depression: Too much added sugar and processed foods may increase depression risk in both men and women. Scientific research has shown that people who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than other people who ate less than40 grams per day.
- Accelerate Skin Ageing: Sugary foods can increase the production of AGEs (Advanced glycation end products), which can accelerate skin aging and wrinkle formation. In fact AGEs damage collagen and elastin, which are proteins that help the skin stretch and keep its beauty.
- Fatty Liver: The two main monosaccharides are glucose and fructose. Glucose is taken up by many cells throughout the body but fructose overloads the liver, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), characterized by excessive fat build-up in the liver.
- Dementia: High-sugar diets can worsen thecognitive decline and increase the risk of dementia.
- Kidney Disease: Consistently high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the delicate blood vessels of the kidneys and lead to an increased risk of kidney disease.
So keep a food diary and be more aware of the main sources of sugar in your daily diet. Try to prepare your own healthy meals at home and avoid buying foods and drinks that are high in added sugar. Avoid alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soda, juice, honey and sugar and eat more whole, unprocessed foods.
This project aims to reach two of the main goals proposed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Good Health and Well-being, Life on Land, Quality Education.