Sucrose: the hidden enemy that kill you… sweetly!


Do you have the impression that something is constantly trying to sabotage all your attempts to lose weight? Or maybe, you feel tired all day long and you don’t know why? Well, maybe it’s because you are not aware of the number one enemy that is killing you….. well, sweetly!

You are probably wondering: “who is that enemy?” Well, it’s something you probably didn’t even think about: sucrose, i.e. the common sugar you use to prepare your delicious muffins or to sweeten an otherwise bitter cup of coffee. Probably, like most people I spoke to about this issue, you are now thinking, “but I do not use so much sugar!”

Maybe not, or maybe…  yes!

You probably do not know that sucrose (but also glucose and fructose) is an extremely common additive in many foods, including some that you couldn’t imagine, like vinegar. Yes, vinegar! Are you familiar with the Italian “Aceto balsamico”? I’m sure you’ve seen it at the supermarket and probably bought it a few times. The balsamic vinegar you can buy in Sweden, is not the original version produced in Modena (Italy), where this food product originally came from. The original balsamic vinegar sits for many years in different barrels, each made of a different type of wood, until it reaches the appropriate level of maturation and flavour. The commercial version of this delicious food product is made of, among other ingredients, caramel which gives it the typical dark colour. And caramel is made of…. exactly! Sucrose!

Besides balsamic vinegar, there is a ton of other food products in which the food industry has added sugar as an additive, and this is unfortunately true for many products advertised as healthy! Added sugar is indeed common in many brands of breakfast cereals and muesli, fruit yoghurts (including the low-fat, zero-fat, plant-based versions) and it is even common in some pasta sauces! Isn’t all this shocking?

To fully understand the degree to which this mass poisoning has reached, try to do the following experiment: go to the supermarket and read the labels of the products you have on your list. How many of these contain added sugar? I can easily guess what you are thinking: too many!

Speaking instead of “real” sweet foods, how many buns, croissants, cakes can you spot around you when you walk into a shopping mall or wait for a train at the station? You probably need to wear blinders not to see them! If you have a sweet tooth as I have, unless you have the unusual habits of going around without money and credit cards, chances are you won’t probably resist for a long time before buying one of them.

Sugar does not make you feel full and satisfied, quite the opposite, indeed. After eating a food that contains sugar, it is common to feel the desire to eat even more, and that’s why the food industry loves it! Because adding sugar automatically means selling more products, obviously. The consequences of this mechanism are obviously not so good, and these include health problems like increased risk of teeth cavitation, weight gain, higher risk of diabetes, and so on.

To stop eating sugar completely is probably a very hard task. Let’s face it, how many people can live an entire life without ever tasting a birthday cake? Not that many, I assume. But the good news is that, after a cleaning period of about one week or ten days, the cravings for sugar sensibly decreases and, in my experience (both personally and with clients), after completing this “cleansing period”, you can enjoy a piece of cake or a croissant every now and then and be happy with it, without that dangerous feeling of wanting more. Last, but not least, when you become more conscious about the amount of sugar you consume, you will feel less guilty when you eat it.

Are you ready to start your cleansing period now? Tell me about your experience and I’ll be glad to give you my best advice to reduce the amount of sugar you eat.

Take care and stay tuned!

Gianluca Tognon

Gianluca Tognon

Gianluca Tognon is an Italian nutrition coach, speaker, entrepreneur and associate professor at the University of Gothenburg. He started his career as a biologist and spent 15 years working both in Italy and then in Sweden. He has been involved in several EU research projects and has extensively worked and published on the association between diet, longevity and cardiovascular risk across the lifespan, also studying potential interactions between diet and genes. His work about the Mediterranean diet in Sweden has been cited by many newspapers worldwide including the Washington Post and The Telegraph among others. As a speaker, he has been invited by Harvard University and the Italian multi-national food company Barilla.

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About Me

I’m an Italian nutrition coach, speaker, entrepreneur and associate professor at the University of Gothenburg. I started MY career as a biologist and spent 15 years working both in Italy and then in Sweden.

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