Email sent to BePure created by Ben Warren, Ben is one of New Zealand’s leading nutrition and holistic health experts.
Ben is also the founder of BePure, a company he started over 10 years ago to help reach his goal of inspiring, empowering, and supporting 1 million people to live healthier, happier lives.
Email Answered by Rose Tombleson – Certified Integrated Health Coach – BePure Nutritional Consultant
What do you believe is the main cause of over consumption of sugar in New Zealand ?
Sugar has become so common and is hidden in so many foods that are considered healthy. For example spirulina smoothie has 50g per serving = 10 tsp’s of sugar. This includes fruit sugar but the majority of this has been reconstituted and causes similar problems in the body to processed sugar. Nutrigrain = 3+ tsp of sugar per 100g serve (which is a small estimate) and this is not including the effect of the processed grain which breaks down and raises blood sugar levels in the same way sugar does. For example 2 slices of brown bread raises you blood sugar levels faster than 5 tsp of sugar. Manufacturers also created a strong push for low fat products which are full of sugar. The average consumer thinks they are making a healthy choice by buying low fat yoghurt for example. Addiction is also a problem.
Do you think our society is addicted to sugar?
Yes. Sugar is highly addictive (similar to a class A drug) with the ability to affect the opioids in your brain. So even once people are aware they are consuming too much sugar, it can be very hard to break the habit.
If there was one way to get people aware of this issue and be provided them with knowledge and information, what do you believe this would this be?
Exposure, on every platform. Social media, TV, print media, in schools. Political influence and change. Change is needed in legislation and the amount of sugar and sugar substitutes allowed in food produced. What is going to drive legislation? By increasing consumer demand for change.
What has been the most successful platform to communicate to your audience ?
Social Media and direct e-mail contact, online media platforms. Hard hitting documentaries, targeted at a popular audience. Seminars are the most effective way but it takes a lot of work and money to get a lot people in front of Ben and to engage in the message.
If I was to design a visual platform and system to educate and enable young adults to decipher nutritional information and then understand the different sugars, could this help the consumer to be more aware of ‘hidden sugars’ in process food?
The most important thing we need to do is educate people on eating whole, non-processed food. Food really shouldn’t have a big ingredient list. It shouldn’t have more than 3 or 4 ingredients at the most and they should be ingredients you can recognise. Helping people make these choices and why they should do that we believe is the most important. Touching what is going to inspire people to change…. Better health, skin, mood, bones, energy etc. Unfortunately when you are young and resilient you sometimes get away with eating processed food, but it does catch up with you at some point. We want people to live life at their best 🙂