Harmful Effects of Consuming High Levels of Sugar

Sugar can be a source of natural energy for many people, but it can also carry many health risks if too much is consumed on a regular basis.

High levels of sugar in unhealthy food items, such as cakes, biscuits and sweets, can lead to chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

It is vital that seafarers working in galleys understand the risks associated with high sugar levels when producing weekly menus and cooking. At MCTC, we offer a wide range of courses suited to people working in the galleys on ships at all different levels and capabilities, to arm them with the knowledge of how to cook enjoyable, healthy and nutritious meals.

Nichole Stylianou, Food Nutritionist at MCTC, said: “Sugar exists in a plethora of food products like carbohydrates, sweets, fruits, vegetables and ready-made products, but other factors distinguish whether it is healthy or unhealthy. For example, wholegrain carbohydrates have high quantities of fibre and a low glycaemic index (GI) – how sugar increases glucose in blood – whereas cakes, biscuits and sweets have a very high GI. The problem occurs when there is high addition of added sugar to increase flavour and shelf life.”

“Sugar exists in many food products like soups, bread, cured meats, sauces and ketchup. Many food recipes require higher amounts of sugar and as a result, people consume more than they think they are.”

A good way to start monitoring sugar consumption is reading, and understanding, food labels.

Added sugar can be mentioned in food products by the following names: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fruit juice, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, malt sugar, molasses, syrup sugar molecules (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose).

Lisa Jacobs, MCTC