By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Did you know that Australian men are far more likely to be overweight and diabetic than women? This is according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It appears that a high sugar intake may be more harmful for men’s health than women’s.
Currently approximately 70 percent of Australian men are overweight or obese, versus 59 percent of women. By the time they reach age 55, men are far more likely to have type 2 diabetes than women. This is probably because central obesity is a big risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes and that’s where most men carry excess weight. Women who carry excess fat on their thighs and buttocks don’t have the same increased diabetic risk. Type 2 diabetes tends to occur with fatty liver, clogged arteries, and a higher incidence of heart attacks and strokes. Having type 2 diabetes usually significantly shortens lifespan.
Sugar is well known to adversely affect mood. High sugar diets are associated with depression and anxiety. It’s more likely to be the case in men. A recent study found that a diet high in sugar makes men more likely to experience depression. Researchers examined 5000 men and 2000 women, and found that men who consumed more than 67 grams of sugar per day were 23 percent more likely to experience mental illness over a five year period. This effect was not seen in women. Stereotypically women are said to prefer chocolate, biscuits and other confectionary, whereas men crave salty foods. Many salty foods like potato chips, corn chips, pretzels and pizza are full of carbohydrate which quickly gets digested into sugar. It doesn’t really matter whether you prefer your carbs sweet or salty, they’ll end up as sugar in your bloodstream.
Did you know the biggest sugar consumers in Australia are teenage boys? The World Health Organisation suggests everyone consumes a maximum of 6 teaspoons of sugar a day. Australian teenage boys on average consume a massive 92 grams. That’s around 18 teaspoons of sugar each day. It’s actually not difficult to do if consuming soft drinks and energy drinks, which is where the bulk of their sugar comes from. Sugary drinks offer no satiety, so it’s easy to just keep drinking them. High carbohydrate diets suppress testosterone production in men, and we see many male patients in their 30s with below normal testosterone. Apart from low libido, this can cause symptoms like depression, fatigue and low motivation.