HIDDEN sugar in porridge has really got me angry! I’m always trying to make people aware of the dangers of hidden sugar so I consider myself to be quite astute as far as the deadly white stuff goes! But here’s something that happened the other day which made me feel so angry and really puts the whole sugar addiction problem into context.
My 18 year old daughter loves porridge to start her day in the winter. I encourage her to make it from a packet because that way I know the amount of sugar in porridge she’s consuming is minimal.
Packet oats (if you shop carefully) have only 1% sugar, and in a typical 40g serving that amounts to about one-tenth of a teaspoon of sugar in porridge.
Now she’s in the sixth form she has to get to school earlier, and so she takes a little ready pot of porridge bought from Tesco’s. All she has to do is add boiling water.
The first day she tried this I got a phone call from her saying “Yuk, mum! This porridge is far too sweet, it’s disgusting!”
I really couldn’t work out what she was talking about. How on earth was it too sweet?? There’s no sugar in porridge!
On very close inspection of the pot I found the solution and I was absolutely horrified. The manufacturer had added 2 teaspoons to the pot. There’s the hidden sugar in porridge!
Because “natural” oats from the packet was virtually sugar-free – just a sprinkle or so – I rashly assumed the ready-made version would be the same.
I’d fallen victim to the issue which is at the root of the obesity crisis.
Even though many manufacturers now put “traffic light” warnings on packets about the nutritional contents of processed food, the public hasn’t been sufficiently educated to pay enough attention.
At holiday times especially we get drawn in by adverts on TV and in the papers which show seemingly mouth-watering processed food but which don’t make clear how much hidden sugar it contains.
So once in the store, we just pile in in the trolley without giving it a second thought.
We need to get wise! Children need to have at least one lesson a week about the hidden sugar in foodstuffs so they can learn healthy eating habits from a very young age.
If children willingly cut out sweet things because they’d learned of the health risks then their palates would change and when they grew up the food manufacturers would no longer have to pander to their tastes by pumping everyday food and drinks with hidden sugar.
Then we wouldn’t need to be having debates about whether there should be a sugar tax. At the moment, manufacturers of ready meals, processed food and fast food are making people obese by lacing it with sugar.
Only by educating people will we ever be able to stop this intrusion into our health.
Join in the debate this week during #SugarAwarenessWeek and support @ActionOnSugar.