Perspectives

Men’s Health Week: spotlight on sugar

63% of men in the UK are overweight.

Men’s Health Week is run by Men’s Health Forum to raise awareness about health issues affecting the UK’s male population.

This year the focus is on the UK’s diabetes crisis, estimated to affect one in ten men in the UK – a figure expected to increase sharply over the next 20 years.

Dr Subashini M, Associate Medical Director at Aviva, comments on Men’s Health Week: 

The spotlight is on sugar for this year’s Men’s Health Week, and the contributing role it is playing in the UK’s diabetes crisis. While sugary treats can often act as an innocent indulgence, too much of the white stuff on a too frequent basis can pose significant health threats, leading to weight gain and a whole host of resulting health issues.

Based on BMI data from Aviva’s research 63% of men in the UK are currently overweight*. The nation’s ‘sweet tooth’ could be a significant contributing factor to this obesity crisis, with over a third (36%) of men indulging in unhealthy snacks such as chocolate and crisps and (28%) treating themselves to cakes, puddings, biscuits and pastries at least once a day.*

It’s encouraging to see nearly half (44%) of men have tried to reduce their sugar intake in the past year*, however more needs to be done if we are to tackle the UK’s obesity crisis. A healthy diet is one of the most effective ways of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This Men’s Health Week presents the perfect opportunity for men in the UK to take stock of their diet and nutrition - just a few small tweaks to our everyday diet can make a significant and positive impact to our health and wellbeing.

Top tips on how to cut sugar intake

Secret sugar – Food doesn’t need to be sickly sweet to contain alarming levels of sugar. It’s often found hiding in unexpected places. Make sure you read ingredients to identify which foods contain secret sugar. If it’s something easy to make such as a pasta sauce, why not consider making it from scratch and forgoing the sugar?

Look for healthy alternatives – Swapping sugary snacks for healthy alternative such as fruit or nuts will not only lower your sugar intake but also bring additional nutritional benefits and leave you satisfied for longer.

Keep treats out of the house – If knowing sugary snacks are just seconds away in the kitchen cupboards is too much of a test for your willpower, why not set yourself a rule and make your house a no treat zone.

Don’t drink your sugar – Sugar lurks in drinks as well as food. Switching to sugar free alternatives to fizzy drinks or swapping sugar for sweetener in your tea and coffee can dramatically lower your daily sugar intake.

*Download the Aviva Wellbeing report

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