Sugar is the new health threat : Findings from Credit Suisse Study

Last week I had written a piece informing people about the dangers of sugar and given them 4 reasons to cut it out of the diet. I received a lot of criticism and some feedback on the piece. I do acknowledge that I am not an endocrinologist and have not conducted any independent study on this topic.

But last week while watching a documentary on sugar consumption from New Zealand, I came across references to a report from Credit Suisse “Sugar: Consumption at Crossroads”

Findings from the Credit Suisse report is more validation of my earlier article. The truth is that the processed food industry has been using sugar in large quantities. In addition to taste, sugar is also a good preservative. And last but not the least I feel Sugar is very addictive, more addictive than cigarettes or alcohol.

Sugar is the new threat to our health

There were three findings from the report that were eye openers. These were

  1. Global Consumption- The global per capita consumption of sugar is up 46% from 48 grams a day to 70 grams a day. This is the addition of 280 calories daily. 70 grams is around 16-18 teaspoons. While this is the average, the US leads the world with 40 teaspoons a day while China has the least which is around 7 teaspoons a day. Picture an American and a Chinese. Now you would know where obesity is coming from….need I say more.
  1. Sugar link with Obesity- While medical research has not been conclusive to link Sugar with Obesity, there are indications that the link will be established soon. Today we have enough indicators putting sugars and carbohydrates as creating a greater risk for Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Attacks. While Insulin resistance is genetically determined, it is established that more than 7 teaspoons for women and more than 9 for men is way above the insulin tolerance levels. This is the amount of sugar found in a single bottle of coca-cola.
  1. Medical Practitioners Agree- While a large scale trial or study keeping a control and a trial group across many years have not been organised as yet, the surveys across medical practitioners across the glove have agreed that sugar is the causative elements for the increase in hearts diseases. The concurrence was as high as 80%. Interestingly the consumption of sugar has declined in the upper strata of the society specially among educated individuals. But sugar finds a way to sneak in through processes food.

So what does all this mean for India?

Well in India the number of deaths in India due to heart diseases stood at 15% in 1990 and now it is up to 28%. The main factor for this has been diet. While factors like hypertension are a direct result of obesity, other factors like environmental pollution and tobacco usage also contributed to this number. In other words, our sugar consumption is killing us faster than we think.

What can we do ?

Here are three steps that I want all my readers to take immediately

  1. Educate yourself- There is enough literature available on the net and as well on research sites. Spend some time reading this and take charge of your health.
  2. Watch Documentaries- There are enough documentaries on channels like Discovery and Amazon Prime. This gives you a sense of the research and though process on this issue across the globe.
  3. Read Nutrition Facts- At the back of all food articles in India, there is a table that indicates the amount of sugar that have been added to the product. Read that carefully. Remember WHO prescribes only 9 teaspoons per male per day and 7 per female. Anything above that is very dangerous.

In conclusion, take charge of your health. If you don’t no one else will. As always comments and suggestions are welcome.

Healthcare Delivery

A new approach to pain management

Kanchan (Name changed) was a brilliant student in school and college. She was the first woman to graduate in her family and then went on to become the first to finish post-graduation with honors. Her life was looking bright when she was hired by financial services multinational. But things took an interesting turn when in her second year of employment, she started complaining of pain in her joints. She started avoiding any stressful activity including walking and climbing stairs. Finally, things became so bad that she started feeling tired all the time. She consulted a doctor who came to the conclusion that her sedentary lifestyle and obesity had caused these symptoms. The lack of exercise in her youth and increasingly sedentary lifestyle was creating serious medical complications. Kanchan is not alone, today millions of Indians are suffering from the after-effects of lifestyle diseases.


Understanding weight loss and making it work for you

The old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is the best statement to explain how important it is to keep your weight in the ideal range. Once you accumulate fat in your body, it takes a long time to reduce it and get back to shape.

Although there are several ways to lose weight, here are a few principles that you need to understand to help you achieve this goal:

  1. A good exercise regimen can do the magic.It is easy to initiate weight loss by simply increasing physical activities like aerobics, yoga, and swimming which can burn extra fat and help you get in shape. Try cardio to burn calories and strength training to burn fat and build muscles.
  2. A good nutritionist would help you find your ideal body weight, fat percentage, and your overall vital statistics. This is best first step that you can take. If you know where you stand health-wise anddiet-wise, you would know where changes are needed. Diet and exercise go hand in hand
  3. Remember that the diet planned should not make you starve at any point of time. Your diet should be nutrition-rich and calorie-dense but based on your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and body mass index (BMI).
  4. The first thing that strikes us as important when going on a weight loss program is to banish fats from our diet. Understand that fats do not make you fat! They are as essential to our body as proteins and carbs and are play an important role in the weight loss journey. If you do not consume adequate fat you may not lose weight.
  5. Instead of eliminating your favorite foods while on the program, try changing the way you cook these foods, so you can still enjoy them, guilt-free of course! Roasting, boiling, and steaming are the best methods to cook food when you are on a weight loss plan. Avoid deep and shallow frying.
  6. Eat small and frequent meals. This ensures a steady supply of blood glucose levels thereby keeping your energy levels intact. It will also make sure you do not end up starving and bingeing on junk food.
  7. Vitamins and minerals also play a major role in a weight loss program. Include a good amount of dry fruits, fresh fruits, and vegetables. If supplements are an absolute must, speak with your doctor before trying any kind of multivitamin.

Are diet and exercise the only keys to weight loss?

While it is believed that diet and exercise lead to weight loss, behind the scenes, it is your dedication and will power that helps you stick to a healthy lifestyle pattern which helps you maintain the weight you lose.

These supporting factors to weight loss are gaining importance and now people are realizing that weight loss extends beyond physical exercise and healthy food. It is also an emotional and behavioral exercise.Our thoughts influence our feelings, and our feelings dictate certain behaviors.

“I’ll never lose weight”, “I deserve this piece of cake”- these thoughts influence feelings of depression and denial and can lead to binge-eating as a behavioral reaction. This can cause your whole weight loss program to suffer.

It is therefore, important to use some cognitive and behavioral strategies to deal with challenges and negative feelings that can upset your routine.

Tuning into the experience of eating and feeling what it is to be hungry or full, reminding yourself of your weight loss goals and how important it is for you, breaking through the negative thinking traps and maintaining positivity, and using family members as a source of encouragement are some of the cognitive exercises for weight loss.

Similarly, scheduling your day, stocking up on healthy snacks, and treating yourself only with healthy snacks are some of the behavioral self-control tactics to weight loss.

Of course, relapse can be de-motivating. It can completely throw you off track. But if we exercise our thoughts just like we exercise our bodies, we can modify the brain to understand that weight loss is like any other venture in life, where anything worth working towards involves setbacks, and it’s a part of the process.

It is also common to become anxious with the thought of maintaining yourself once the program ends. But, instead of being overwhelmed by the idea, the trick is to ask yourself what you can do right now to feel better.

Take each day as it comes. Break up your goals into smaller tasks that you can easily accomplish to move along the path as smoothly as possible.

Finally, a weight loss program is effective only when it is a combination of diet, exercise, and will power. Building a support system within and nurturing the mind and emotional self as much as the physical self leads to successful weight loss and long term sustenance of goals.

(The views are representative of the views of The Wellness Corner and the author. Healthcare India does not necessarily endorse them. Healthcare India has no business interests in The Wellness Corner)
About the Author


Piyush Agarwal  works with The Wellness Corner, The Wellness Corner is your personal health assistant offers the complete solution for corporate wellness benefits program. It works as a platform to keep its users engaged with huge library of health & wellness content, health risk assessment, well-rounded guided wellness programs. In addition to this impressive list, users have access to nutritionists, psychologists, and doctors to answer queries and offer guidance.



The myth of warm water, honey & lemon for weight loss

Of the many myths that I have seen being propagated in India, the one that makes me curious is the one on the warm water, honey and lemon combination to reduce fat. I have seen this grow in my family even in childhood as one of my aunts used to religiously drink it each morning. I was too young to understand what she was trying to achieve, but I suspect she was try to lose weight.

Public Health

Why Chota Bheem may be negatively affecting the health of your child….


Chota-Bheem-Cartoon-Pogo-Picture-5Chota Bheem is a phenomenon for the children of today. Some look at him as a role model. But is he affecting the health of your child?

The thought first came to my mind, when my daughter asked me for a ladoo about 2 years ago. She said Bheem has ladoos and that’s why he is strong. Realizing that this was probably not such a bad thing, I did get her the ladoos. After a while this became the norm and she started consuming the sweets regularly.