Not all carbohydrates are the same

Tabassum(Tabby) kabeer SRDHCPCMBDA Freelance Dietitian 7.4.21

There are different types of carbohydrates in our food.:

Sugars: simple sugars are fructose (fruit sugar), Glucose (this circulates in our body as blood sugar) table sugar found in honey,soft drinks and confectionary,

disaccharides-sucrose (table sugar), Lactose (milk sugar)

Starches: complex carbohydrates found in cereal, bread ,flour, rice, pasta,couscous, some fruits and vegetables- potatoes, root vegetables, pulses

Dietary fibre: non- starch polysaccharides major component of dietary fibre, found in root vegetables, nuts, seeds, oats, fruit, cereals and wholemeal bread.

Carbohydrates provide you with energy for your organs to function properly, starches and dietary fibre help regulate blood sugar and protects you against heart disease,cancer, prevents constipation,give you a feeling of fullness to help with weight control.

Sugary foods generally from soft drinks and confectionary do not contain many other nutrients so small amounts after a healthy meal is preferable. BDA Fact sheet.

Risks of having too much simple sugars in our diet.

  • Dental decay

  • Weight gain

  • Increased risk of heart disease

  • Increased risk of cancer

  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes

  • Decreased consumption of nutritious food

Britons average 15 teaspoons per day - 330ml fizzy drinks alone contain seven

Experts say we should be having 5 tsps instead per day. Use the sugar reckoner below to help you cut down and find alternatives.

Reading food label

Traffic light labels of food make it easier to choose healthier options

Some supermarkets are using labels with % guideline daily amount(GDAs) instead.

To apply traffic light to a product, look at the per 100g information panel on the pack and make a healthier choice:


high >15g /100g product

medium5.1-15g/100g product

low<5 g/100 g product

Another way to check is to note the ingredients list at the back of pack.If sucrose,glucose, added fructose powder is higher on the top of ingredients then the product maybe high in sugar.To tell if a processed food contains added sugars, you need to look at the list of ingredients. Besides those ending in “ose,” such as maltose or sucrose, other names for sugar include high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey or fruit juice concentrates.

The scientific advisory committee on nutrition recommends 2015:

  • The intake of free sugars should account for no more than 5% daily energy intake. This is: 19g or 5 sugar cubes for children aged 4-6, 24g or 6 sugar cubes for children aged 7-10 and 30g or 7 sugar cubes for over 11 year olds.

  • The consumption of sugar sweetened beverages should be minimised by both children and adults

Public Health England (PHE) has published a paper, “Sugar Reduction: Responding to the Challenge”, marking its commitment to help reduce sugar intake and improve the nation’s health.

For specialised Diet and Nutrition advice seek the advice of a Professional Dietitian and Nutritionist Tabby kabeer

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