Source: Fitness Journal
New Zealanders appear to be getting the message that we can have
too much of a good thing - sort of.
Results from Southern Cross Health Society's annual health
survey show that almost two thirds (63 percent) of respondents
believe they should consume less sugar and 73 percent believe it is
a contributing factor to the country's obesity problems.
However, the research of more than 2000 New Zealanders also
found that despite high levels of agreement that sugary food and
drinks are contributing to obesity in New Zealand, there is only
moderate support for further government regulation of food (27
percent agreeing) or drinks (34 percent agreeing).
Likewise, there is only limited support for the government to
tax food and drink:
· 39 percent agree that sodas and other sugar-sweetened
drinks should be taxed
· 34 percent agree that high sugar foods should be
· 26 percent agree that high fat foods should be
· Just over half believe that unhealthy foods and
drinks should not be taxed
Southern Cross Health Society CEO Peter Tynan says the results
show that while people hear the 'eat less sugar' message, many
are yet to act on it and they don't want change forced on them
"New Zealand is seeing a rise in chronic conditions such as
diabetes, stroke, cancer, heart disease, and sugar intake is linked
to all of these, as well as the obvious dental conditions such as
gum disease and tooth decay.
"The results show that while people hear the 'eat less
sugar' message, many are yet to act on it and they don't want
change forced on them either."
"While sugar is only one contributing factor to these
conditions, it's clear that in the main, we do need to limit our
intake of food and drinks with added sugar," he says.
Sarah Hanrahan, dietician for the New Zealand Nutrition
Foundation agreed, adding that while we need to decrease our sugar
intake, eliminating all sugar is unnecessary and the total health
benefits of food need to be considered.
"Sugar occurs naturally in many foods like milk and fruit. This
sugar is called intrinsic sugar and usually comes packaged with
many other valuable nutrients. It is the added or 'free
sugars' found in processed foods that cause the most concern.
"We need to think about the foods we eat with sugar added to
them. Do they contain other good things, whole grains for example,
fruits and vegetables? If so, choose these over the sugary drinks
and foods which have no other nutrition benefits," she said.
Pleasingly, this year's research showed energy and soft drink
consumption was down on 2013 but 13 percent of people still say
they drink them five plus days a week.
The research also showed that 24 percent of the population ate
biscuits on five or more days of the week, and 17 percent ate
chocolate or lollies just as often.