Forget about sugar – Dr Ismail Tamale

Following a March World Health Organisation draft recommendation that daily sugar intake be reduced to 50gm from 100gm, Taimex Uganda’s Dr Ismail Tamale, is asking Ugandans to “forget about sugar altogether”.

Tamale, a personalised nutritionist, says not only have natural and artificial sugar substitutes been linked to obesity and tooth decay, some artificial sugar substitutes such as aspartame and sucrose have been linked to cancer.

“Those artificial sugar substitutes, the ones made from laboratories, are very dangerous. They have been said to result in cancer,” Tamale says.

Natural sugar substitutes consist of sugars made from sugarcane such as table sugar, molasses and jaggery. Honey and maple syrup are the other natural sugar substitutes. Natural sugars are found in fruits such as oranges, pineapples and pawpaw among others.

Tamale says that table sugar is weaned of nutrients such as magnesium and calcium, making it a poor substitute for natural sugars. He says the poor situation is exacerbated by many of us exceeding the recommended daily sugar intake by “so many” grammes.

“Fifty grammes of sugar translate into eight teaspoonfuls of sugar [or 12 ½ teaspoons as one teaspoon is equal to four grammes of sugar, according] . Some of these soft drinks have 35 grammes. If you take two, you exceed the daily recommended intake,” Tamale says.

He adds that in addition to the sugar we add to our tea, we eat cakes, bread, chocolate and other candies such that we end up exceeding the draft recommendation.

“Sugar is an empty calorie; this means that in order to be absorbed, it takes calcium and magnesium from the body. That is why you will see that a child who eats candy, even if he brushes 100 times a day, will get tooth decay,” Tamale says.

Healthy eating

Your body needs to fight infections all the time; keeping your immune system strong and healthy therefore is very important no matter the season. What you eat can influence your immune health because some foods decrease your chances of getting sick; others help you recover from certain ailments more quickly while others especially junk and oily foods wreck your health.

Dr Ismail Tamale, a nutritionist at Taimex Uganda Limited advises one to incorporate the following foods in their diet for a strong immune system.

They give you the mineral selenium and the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin. That helps you in several ways. If you are low on selenium, you may be more likely to get a more severe flu. Riboflavin and niacin play a role in a healthy immune system.

The watermelon is not only refreshing when it is ripe but also got plenty of an antioxidant called glutathione. It strengthens the immune system so it can fight infections.

Low-Fat Yogurt
Probiotics, found in yogurt and other fermented products, may ease the severity of colds. Look for “live and active cultures” labels on yoghurts. Also look for added vitamin D.

According to Dr Tamale, Spinach is a super food because you will find lots of nutrients. One of them is folate, which helps your body make new cells and repair DNA. It also boasts fiber, antioxidants such as vitamin C, and more. Eat spinach raw or lightly cooked to get the most dietary benefits.

Sweet Potato
Like carrots, sweet potatoes have beta-carotene nutrient. When taken into the body, the beta-carotene turns into vitamin A, which mops up damaging free radicals. Orange fleshed sweet potatoes are better at this role to protect you from poor eyesight, bolster the immune system and may reduce the aging process.

This kitchen staple does more than punch up the flavor of food. Raw garlic can help beat skin infections thanks to its ability to fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi. To get the benefits, you have to use the real stuff, though, not garlic powder.

Most people like ginger because of the spicy kick it gives to Asian food but there are more values to it. It can ease nausea and vomiting. It is also a good source of antioxidants. Add ginger to stir fries or steep it in hot water to make tea. .

Dr Tamale says, “This flavourful spice is considered a super food because it is rich in antioxidants and has strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Fruits provide carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Most are naturally low in fat and sodium.