Everyone loves a sweet treat every now and again. We believe it’s important to nourish your taste buds while caring for your health and impact on the environment. To help you make informed dietary decisions, we have provided some insight on why all our snacks are cane-sugar free.
How much is too much?
According to 2020 statistics, the EU is the second leading region in cane sugar consumption with a staggering 18.6 tonnes being consumed in a single year. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) by Public Health England found that sugar comprises a much higher percentage of the average citizen’s daily calorie intake than recommended (14.15% for teenagers and 11% for adults respectively) with the official recommendation being no more than 5% across all ages. The gravity of the sugar consumption problem in the UK is only highlighted by the law passed in 2018 that imposes a levy or “sin tax” on soft drinks containing more than the recommended amount of sugar.
Sugar cane presents many challenges with regards to environmental sustainability. In fact, A 2004 report by WWF suggests that sugar cane may be responsible for more biodiversity loss than any other crop. Production of this crop in many countries has resulted in the destruction of natural rainforests, mangrove plantations and other vulnerable environments due to the size of land required.
Additionally, the run-off of nutrients, pesticides and chemicals in the soil, eutrophication of waterways from fertilizer and discharge of organic pollutants further impacts not only the animal species that make up the unique biodiversity of these areas, but also often affects native humans. The burning of sugar cane prior to harvest is also a widespread practice that causes large amounts of air pollution.
Further to this, sugar cane is an exceptionally water intensive crop and according to an interview with global policy research institute Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) senior researcher Francis Johnson, “The additional water being used for irrigation in sugar farming regions […] may exacerbate water stress. Even without irrigation, sugar cane can remove water resources from other crops, owing to soil and groundwater evapotranspiration needed to support sugar plant growth”.
Until more sustainable methods of farming this crop are developed and widely implemented, sugar cane will remain a disaster for the environments in which it is farmed.
Health Effects of Sugar Cane
Increases risk of heart disease
High-sugar diets have long been found to increase the levels of triglycerides (fats that circulate in your blood when not being stored in your body) and decrease the amount of HDL (good fats) which work to protect against and reduce LDL (bad fats) within the body. Both of these actions increase your risk for atherosclerosis. Further evidence shows that excessive sugar consumption leads to inflammation within the body, elevates blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels, and along with the increased risk for atherosclerosis, this greatly increases an individual’s risk for heart disease. A 2014 study found that those who consumed 17–21% of calories from added sugar had a 38% greater risk of dying from heart disease, compared to those consuming only 8% of calories from added sugar.
Causes weight-gain and obesity
With a teaspoon of cane-sugar containing 16 calories and many sweet treats and beverages containing a great deal more sugar than just a teaspoon, it’s easy to see how excessive consumption may lead to weight-gain and obesity. As sugar cane also stimulates the release of feel-good hormone dopamine, the more you consume, the more you want to consume, which only compounds the problem. A 2013 study even found that excessive sugar-cane consumption could lead to your body developing resistance to a hormone called leptin which regulates hunger and tells you when you are full.
Contributes to gout, joint pain and other inflammatory conditions
High cane sugar diets have been linked to increased inflammation in the body leading to the emergence and exacerbation of inflammatory conditions such as joint pain and gout. As added cane sugar also increases the levels of uric acid in the body, this would particularly aggravate gout.
We support our community in reducing cane sugar consumption, so we have provided a full range of delicious cane sugar-free snacks that hit the spot with a variety of rich flavours.