We all know that too much sugar is bad for you. Jamie Oliver has previously made headlines for his personal war against the stuff, and the UK government introduced the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (better known as the Sugar Tax) in 2018 to fight against it.
Consuming too much sugar can cause obesity – it’s just as dangerous as a diet of high fat foods in that regard – as well as high blood pressure and tooth decay. But what else is too much sugar doing to our bodies and how serious can it get?
Below we’ll look at some simple ways to avoid excess sugar consumption, and also talk about the potential role of tomatoes in diabetes prevention!
Does sugar cause diabetes?
There are two main types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. Other categories and subcategories, such as gestational diabetes and prediabetes, also exist but we’ll focus here on the relationship sugar has with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Although actually, in the case of Type 1, there is no relationship with sugar.
Despite what some people think, neither sugar consumption nor any other lifestyle factors are responsible for Type 1 diabetes; it’s the result of the immune system destroying the cells that produce insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is far and away the most common type of diabetes in the UK – the NHS indicates that as many as 90% of diabetics living in the UK suffer from Type 2 diabetes. And it’s Type 2 diabetes that has more of a relationship with sugar.
It’s worth pointing out that sugar consumption doesn’t actually directly cause Type 2 diabetes, but it can put you at greater risk of developing it. Research shows that certain sugar sweetened drinks have been known to enhance the risk of Type 2 diabetes, and carrying excess weight due to sugar consumption isn’t helpful either.
Reduce the risk of diabetes (with tomatoes!)
The best way to cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is to lower the amount of sugar you include in your diet. Of course, a life without any sugar at all is impossible to maintain – sugary treats in moderation probably won’t do any harm.
But there are lots of things you can do to decrease your intake of the white stuff little by little. They won’t leave you feeling like you’re missing out, but will have a positive impact on your overall health:
- Eat whole fruit and vegetables, like tomatoes, rather than juices or smoothies – if you do have juice, have no more than 150ml per day
- Some drinks seem healthy but have lots of added sugar. Look for drinks with ‘no added sugar’ on their labels, which typically applies to tomato juices
- Cook from scratch – many pre-made jars, packets, and pastes (but not SORSO!) contain excess sugar and salt, so it’s healthier to make your own
- Consider using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, although the jury is still out as to whether these may have health issues of their own
- Look for healthier alternatives to sugary chocolate bars and snacks, such as natural yoghurt with honey or a small bowl of unsalted nuts
These might seem like minor changes to your diet but, if you’re able to implement even a couple of them, you should start to notice a difference.
Tomatoes for diabetes…really?
The idea of using the humble tomato for diabetes prevention might sound outlandish but, as we’ve seen above, there are various areas in which you can add them into the mix. Plus, as we’ve covered before, there are other health benefits of tomatoes too!
Tomatoes aren’t high in sugar at all – they have around 2.49g of sugar per 100g, or closer to 5g of sugar per 100g for sweeter varieties like cherry tomatoes – and that makes them a great alternative to foods with high sugar levels.
If you compare tomatoes with grapes (16g of sugar per 100g), for example, you’ll see that they make for an extremely healthy snack food. Don’t feel like you have to replace every snack and drink with tomatoes but, for diabetes prevention, they can be a really helpful option to fall back on.
If you’re struggling to make changes, or you’re not seeing any impact, it may be worth talking to your GP or a dietician; using the humble tomato for diabetes prevention isn’t a silver bullet, and there may be some other steps you can take to see real results.
Bonus points: check out SORSO’s range of sugar-free products!
Reducing your intake of sugar is the best way to avoid developing diabetes and, with our flavourful range of sugar-free sauces, soups, and pastes, there’s no reason to include extra sugar in your meals.
Choose from tastebud tingling flavours like Chilli, Lemon & Garlic, or Lemon & Thyme, and turn your mealtimes into something special without risking your health in the process. Plus, SORSO products are all:
- Low in calories
Take a look at our full range here, and drop us a line if you have any questions or thoughts. For example, someone recently asked us “can diabetics eat tinned tomatoes?” Even though most tinned tomatoes don’t contain added sugar, we think SORSO’s sugar-free nature makes them a great option with a little more oomph.
And, as always, we’d love to know if you’ve been getting creative with SORSO or have any tips for lowering sugar intake you think we should add here.