Lisa Bourne, co-founder of one of Australia’s fastest growing health food snack companies, Funch, says that consumers need to be more aware of what is in the foods we’re eating and how labelling laws can limit our capacity to decipher what exactly is inside the package.
From diglycerides and disaccharides to fructooligosaccharides and maltodextrin – sugar goes under many titles and can have a significant impact on our health.
“Countless studies have shown that sugar is addictive,” Ms Bourne said today.
“It lacks any nutrients and offers only a short-term, temporary boost to your energy level, followed by an energy slump.
"Currently in Australia there is no requirement for the amount of sugar added to foods to be included on the food label and even if you try to work it out by looking at the product ingredients, sugar can be disguised under 40 plus different names.
“Eating foods high in sugar replaces eating more nutritious foods which in turn is giving us a nation of under-nourished people. Ultimately this is leading to the rise in a range of serious, life-threatening health issues including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, liver disease and even cancer.
"Despite countless health warnings and improvements to food labelling, for many people sugar still makes up a huge part of our daily food intake.”
So how can we stop eating sugar? Particularly sugar that we don’t even realise is there. Ms Bourne describes how the key is to understand why we crave sugar and what is the best way to avoid sugar.
“We tend to consume sugar in highly processed foods. This type of added sugar tricks your body into feeling satisfied. You get the sugar high, but then are left empty and searching for the next sweet treat to satisfy your body as it craves for the nutrients needed to function.
"Some common reasons we get sugar cravings include:
. Being over tired: Our bodies need glucose (sugar) and sodium (salt) to function. When we are tired and our cells get sluggish, we experience a sugar craving, which is our body searching for energy,
. Hunger pains: Our bodies demand fuel. Without the right nutrient dense food, regularly consumed, our body cries out for energy in the form of a sugar craving,
. Stress: When we are stressed we have a high level of the hormone cortisol, we then crave sugar as it produces another hormone called serotonin, which is calming. It’s kind of like our body searching for a chill pill; and
. Filling up on empty calories: When we don’t eat nutritious food that is a balance of all the right food groups including carbohydrates and good fats, our bodies crave the quick fix of sugar for fuel.”
Ms Bourne and her company Funch believe that the key to cutting sugar cravings is combatting all of the above common causes of cravings – and snacking. Health food snack company Funch does just this, provides easy to make healthy mixes that clearly label all of the nutritious ingredients they contain.
“Crowding out the cravings by feeding our body with real food, that offers real fuel is an important step towards managing your sugar cravings,” says Ms Bourne.
"This is one of the reasons why Tanya Duncan and myself co-founded Funch. We wanted to create snack food mixes that were made using only natural wholesome ingredients. You will recognise every ingredient on the packet and there is no added sugar, but they still make sweet tasting, deliciously healthy snacks such as protein balls, slices and bliss balls.
“Funch allows people to eat well and enjoy their snacks without consuming high levels of processed sugar. Our mixes are incredibly easy to make up and only require the addition of two ingredients such as water and honey - which most people have in their kitchen. One packet mix of Funch Chocolate Bliss Balls will make up to 15 bliss balls in a matter of minutes and they will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Funch health food mixes are available online or in health food stores, grocers and supermarkets.