World Diabetes Day: Breaking down the sugar in the Pinoy diet

Barbie Salvador-Muhlach

Posted at Nov 14 2019 07:09 PM

MANILA -- How much sugar do we really need?

The World Health Organization updated its guidelines in 2015 to reduce its sugar intake recommendations from 10 percent of daily calorie intake to 5 percent. For those with a normal body mass index aged 11 and above, that works out to about 30 grams – or just 7.5 teaspoons of added sugar per day.

The problem is much of the sugars consumed today are “hidden” in drinks and processed food that are not usually seen as sweets.

It does not end there though. Remember, just because something is not high in added sugar content, it doesn’t mean it cannot cause diabetes. Health-conscious individuals should also look at the glycemic index of the food they are taking in.

Glycemic index or GI is a scale that ranks carbohydrates in food based on their effect on blood sugar levels. Simple carbs, or those that break down easily during digestion, score higher on the GI (more than 70). Some examples include white bread and candies. The opposite of that are complex carbs which have a lower GI score (less than 55) and include the likes of raw carrots, green vegetables and beans.

Why does it matter? According to Harvard University, numerous epidemiologic studies have shown that eating many high-glycemic-index food – which cause powerful spikes in blood sugar – can lead to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease and overweight.

That means, if you want to avoid getting diabetes and other kinds of illnesses, you have to avoid eating not just sugar, but high GI food items as well.

In time for World Diabetes Day on November 14, we’ve rounded out some common foods in the Filipino diet and broke down the sugar and carbs content for you.