Australians eating more sugar than fish…

23rd February 2018

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that in 2011/12, Australians consumed an average of 60 grams of free sugars per day (equivalent to 14 teaspoons of white sugar).   The majority of this (52 grams) from added sugars with the remainder being ‘free’ sugars from things like honey and fruit juice.  Frighteningly, this equates to 22kg of sugar per annum.  The World Health Organisation recommends that sugar intake be less than half this at 25g or six teaspoons per day.

At the same time Australia’s per capita seafood consumption has increased to 53 grams per day (19.7kg per annum).  Australia’s Heart Foundation recommends two to three seafood meals a week[1].   19.7kg per person per annum is almost 400g a week.  This is perhaps 1.5 meals a week so most people need to almost double their fish intake.

Fish is high in important nutrients such as iodine and various vitamins and minerals.  It is high in protein.  Fatty fish contains fat soluble vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids[2][3][4][5].  Observational studies have shown that people who eat fish regularly seem to have a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes and death from heart disease and  even slow rates of cognitive decline[6].   Fish consumption is linked with lowered rates of depression[7] and asthma[8] in children.  Vision[9] and sleep[10] can also improve with seafood consumption.

On the other hand, the white death (sugar) is empty calories.  It contains no proteins, no essential fats and no vitamins or minerals.  It is bad for your teeth.  Fructose (a type of sugar) can be bad for your liver.  There are proven linkages between sugar consumption and diabetes.  It is linked with cancer.  Recent research shows that it  has fat-promoting effects and also suggests that it isn’t saturated fat that drives heart disease, but in fact sugar.

Most of us know all this so why do we like it so much when we know it is so bad for us?  Because it is highly addictive.   So yourself a favour and eat more fish starting tonight, but not chocolate fish.

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[1] https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/images/uploads/main/Programs/PRO-169_Fish_and_seafood_position_statement.pdf

[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22682084/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21914258/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23112118

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24405571

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16216930

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3976923/

[8]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3827145/

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134638/

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4013386/