What we didn’t know, however, is that the health problems we are experiencing now might have been the result of the mistakes we have been exposed to since our childhood.
Diabetes is the consequence of this sugar that exceeds into our bodies while burning at a slow pace, Chairman of the Tanzania Diabetes Association Professor Andrew Swai said at a health forum convened in Dar es salaam on Thursday night.
The expert said consumption of more than five teaspoons of sugar per day may lead to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
He cautioned the public to ensure they do not use excessive sugar in their food, juice and tea.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), free sugars contribute to the overall energy density of diets and higher intakes of free sugars threaten the nutrient quality of the diet by providing significant energy without specific nutrients, leading to unhealthy weight gain and increased risk of obesity and various non-communicable diseases (NCDs). WHO recommends a reduced intake of free sugars throughout the life course.
Prof Swai said it is easy to prevent NCDs because they are not viruses that spread like other diseases. “But we created it from our daily food”.
He explained that the body requires sugar but should go slowly, and if excess sugar is taken it has nowhere to go. Instead it turn harmful and burns your body, thereby slowly creating diabetes.
The health expert said there is a good way through which sugar gets into the body without causing harm to it. He cited an example of a mother's milk which comes out in a fluid form, but when it enters inside the womb and comes out from the baby (kucheua) it has turned into yoghurt.
“Therefore, human beings should eat fruit as it is. When you make juice, it will go directly as it is and then after ten minutes, all the sugar gets into the body while it is in fact not required,” Prof. Swai explained.
He added that all carbohydrate foods such as maize, beans and others are required to enter into the body with its natural sugar without being crashed.
“This is intended to ensure that the sugar is entering into the body slowly as required,” he said.
Prof Swai counseled that in order to stay away from heart diseases, you must consume little oil because eating too much fat will put you in health trouble.
“Too much oil blocks blood vessels, making them fail to smoothly transport blood. It causes cardiovascular disease or stroke because the arteries have blocked,” he warned.
The consumption of animal oils is much recommended because they do not freeze in a normal temperature.
Small amounts of salt are also recommended in order to stay away from blood pleasure.
For her part, Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ummy Mwalimu warned against eating of unhealthy foods like fried potatoes, saying they contribute to diseases.
According to the Minister, studies have found that 95 per cent of Tanzanians do not eat fruit and vegetables.
Dr. Honorath Masanja, chief executive director of Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), said, “We have carried out many studies in the community. We have found that only few Tanzanians eat fruits and vegetables.”
Dr. Masanja said that a big percentage of Tanzanians eat vegetables and fruits only when recommended by a medical specialist for curative purposes.