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Do you really know how much of the sweet stuff you eat? Neil and Rob talk about sugar and teach you some tempting new vocabulary

This week’s question 

If a food contains 5% total sugars per 100g, is it

a) high in sugar

b) low in sugar or

c) somewhere in the middle

Listen to the programme to find out the answer

Vocabulary  

have a sweet tooth
like sugary things

processed food
any food that has been changed in some way by freezing it, putting it in tins, combining foods or adding chemicals

at a glance
with a quick look

fat-free
without any fat in it

avoid something at all costs
do everything you can to avoid it

demonise
make someone or something seem very bad 

Transcript 

Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Rob
I’m Rob. Welcome to 6 Minute English – we’ve got a sweet topic today, and six tempting items of vocabulary

Neil
?Hello, I’m Neil. And we’re going to be talking about sugar – which many of us find tempting. But how much is too much, Rob

Rob
I don’t know, Neil, but hopefully we’ll be finding that out. I must admit though – I have a sweet tooth – and that means I like sugary things

Neil
Me too. But something I’m always seeing in the news these days is that we’re eating too much sugar. And one important factor is that sugars are sometimes hidden in processed foods

Rob
Processed food is any food that has been changed in some way – by freezing it or putting it in tins – or by combining foods or adding chemicals. In fact, some of the sugars we eat are hidden in food that we think of as healthy. Such as yoghurts, low fat snacks, and fruit drinks

Neil
?Do you check the information on the back of food packets, Rob? – To see what’s in them

Rob
Yes, I do. But it can be very confusing – there’s so much information. And I’m not always sure how much of a certain thing is bad

Neil
Well, that brings me onto today’s quiz question. Can you tell me, if a food contains 5% total sugars per 100g, is it

a) high in sugar
b) low in sugar or
c) somewhere in the middle

Rob
I’ll say low, Neil

Neil
OK. Well, we’ll find out later. Some food products have colour coding on the packaging to help you understand the information, don’t they? – red for high levels of sugar, salt or fat– orange for medium, and green for low

Rob
That sounds helpful. Then you can see at a glance what’s good or bad for you 

Neil
At a glance
 means with a quick look. OK, let’s listen now to BBC reporter Rajeev Gupta interviewing a man in Chester, in the UK. He’s asking him to guess how much sugar there is in a pot of fat-free yoghurt

INSERT
Rajeev Gupta, reporter interviewing a man in Chester

Reporter: I’ve actually got a pot of yoghurt in front of me. This says ‘fat-free’ on it and it’s been marketed as being quite healthy. If I was to say how much sugar is in here, what would you say as… say is the quantity of the tub

Interviewee: I’d probably think maybe a couple of teaspoonfuls, you know, it’s quite surprising how much is sugars in all these products, isn’t there

Reporter: Well, there’s about a third of this yoghurt pot is actually sugar

Interviewee: To be honest, that’s quite amazing, that. I would never have thought a third of that would have been sugar just by looking at it. And it does say it’s fat-free

Neil
So the yoghurt is fat-free, which means it doesn’t contain any fat. And the man guessed there might be two teaspoons of sugar in the yoghurt

Rob
That’s right. And if something is sugar-free then it doesn’t contain any sugar. But in this case, a third of the yoghurt’s content was sugar. That, to me, sounds like an awful lot – even for someone with a sweet tooth like me

Neil
OK, well, let’s listen to Dr Gunter Kuhnle. He’s a Nutritional Biochemist at Reading University

INSERT
Dr Gunter Kuhnle, nutritional biochemist at Reading University, UK
One problem we see – nutritionists – is sort of this focusing on any individual foods – at one time it was that fat has to be avoided at all costs, now it seems to go towards sugar and sugar is demonised and people link it to drugs and so on. I think this is the wrong way forward. Individuals, yes, you should have a balanced diet. It is important also to enjoy your food and not do this extreme focusing on one side or one aspect and individual nutrients

Rob
So if you avoid something at all costs you do everything you can to avoid it. And demonise means to make someone or something seem very bad

Neil
Dr Kuhnle thinks that totally cutting out one type of food like this – whether it’s fat or sugar – is wrong. He thinks we should eat a balanced diet – and enjoy our food

Rob
That sounds very sensible. Now, how about telling us the answer to today’s quiz question, Neil

Neil
Thanks for reminding me, Rob. I asked: if food contains 5% total sugars per 100g, is it… a) high in sugar, b) low in sugar or c) somewhere in the middle? You said low… and you were… right! Well done

Rob
Thank you

Neil
If foods contain more than 22.5% total sugars per 100g they are classified as high

Rob
And I guess that between 5 and 22.5% they are somewhere in the middle

Neil
Correct! OK, shall we go over the words we heard today

Rob
Yep. First up – if you have a ‘sweet tooth’ it means you like sugary things. For example, ‘My little nephew has a sweet tooth. He eats far too many biscuits and sweets

Neil
His dentist won’t be pleased! Number two – ‘processed food’ is any food that has been changed in some way – by freezing it or putting it in tins – or by combining foods or adding chemicals

Rob
‘ For example, ‘The meat in sausages is highly processed

Neil
Oh dear, I didn’t know that. I’m a big fan of sausages

Rob
Number three – ‘at a glance’ – means with a quick look

Neil
 ‘ For example, ‘I could tell at a glance that I wouldn’t like the food at that restaurant

Rob
‘Fat-free’ means without any fat in it. For example, ‘I bought this yoghurt because it says fat-free on the label

Neil
Aha – but did you realise that a third of it was sugar! Moving on – If you avoid something‘at all costs’ you do everything you can to avoid it. For example, ‘I wanted to win the game at all costs

Rob
I didn’t know you were so competitive, Neil! And finally – ‘demonise’ – means to make someone or something seem very bad

Neil
Politicians shouldn’t demonise their opponents

Rob
They often do though, don’t they? OK. Well, that’s all we have time for on today’s show. But please check out our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages

Neil
Join us again soon!  Meanwhile, visit our website: bbclearningenglish.com, where you’ll find guides to grammar, exercises, videos and articles to read and improve your English. Goodbye

Rob
!Bye

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