Sugar: who isn’t addicted to it?

A matter of choice
PostedAugust 07, 2013, in  Step 1: quick check
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Everyone knows that smoking is unhealthy, just like drinking too much. But there are also health hazards that are less easy to identify. Every year the average European eats 35 kilograms (!) of sugar. This is really not just ‘the icing on the cake’, but often not recognizable as such. Sugar, a quiet assassin.

Illustration Ivo van Leeuwen

Natural and unnatural

Sugar is a carbohydrate 'normally' found in our diet. Sugar is a natural product that is in included in fruits and vegetables. Additionally the food industry adds plenty of extra sugar to their products. From bread to granola and fruit yogurt to meats: sugar is added to all food products. Yet, not only the manufacturers are to blame: we ourselves also continually add sugar to what we eat, simply because we like it. This leads to more and more health issues ...  


The list of potential problems is long: immune suppression, acidification of the gastrointestinal tract, increased risk of cancer and heart disease. The predominant effect is an increase in the level of insulin in the blood, which overloads the pancreas. This leads to various symptoms including fatigue, pain, skin problems and obesity. Especially that last point - obesity - is becoming a big point of attention.

Global problem

Everyone knows them: the television programs in which obese people follow a strict program, aiming to lose weight, often more than 100 kilograms. Sadly, these are not incidents anymore: with the current food trends as many as 50% of Americans will be obese by 2030, with an increasing risk of diabetes. This is not a typical American problem however: the Global Burden of Disease report has shown that - for the first time in history - obesity is a bigger problem than malnutrition.  

Not good for one, good for the other

Not everyone thinks this is a problem, for instance Novo Nordisk in Denmark. This pharmaceutical company particularly produces drugs against diabetes. Currently they are experiencing an increased demand for their products. In 2011, they reported a sales growth of 11% and over 2012 even an increase of as much as 18%! This huge increase is mainly attributed to the sales of drugs against diabetes in the North America region. Novo Nordisk is just an example: the entire pharmaceutical industry is growing fast.  


What now? How do you deal with issues that are 'bigger than life'? It's all a matter of choice: a healthy lifestyle is also possible in a world where all kinds of obstacles are raised. A sustainable lifestyle is actually like a sustainable business: it requires a critical mind, reflection and perseverance, but it's more than worth it. What choice will you make?  

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PostedAugust 07, 2013, in Step 1: quick check
TagsSugar, obesity
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