In Australia, we're constantly reading and hearing information about how we should watch our sugar intake, and with good reason. According to Diabetes Australia, 3.5 million of us live with the condition, which is a sizeable portion of our country's 23 million population.

With the prevalence of diabetes continuing to rise, alongside the ballooning age of the population, diabetes is a problem that seems as though it's only going to get worse, so, it's well worth your time learning about the risk of too high a sugar intake. 

Even before the looming risks of developing diabetes occur, you should be aware of the problems that excess sugar can cause to your body in the short term. According to a new guideline released by the World Health Organisation, adults should lower their intake of sugars to less than 10 per cent of a daily consumption of energy substances. If they can manage to decrease this yet further to 5 percent, more health benefits will become apparent. 

But why the concern?

"We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10 percent of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay," said Dr Francesco Branca, director of WHO's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development.

Thankfully, the new guidelines do not include the natural sugars found in such healthy foods as fresh fruits and vegetables, which are known to help stave off Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a complicated disease that can throw up a whole new conundrum in senior citizens. Because our bodies change so much as the years progress, the condition may not show the usual symptoms that it might in someone younger, such as fatigue, weight loss, and polyuria – though, of course, these symptoms can also be caused by other, less serious conditions. The only way to truly be sure is to visit a doctor and get a blood test. 

So how can you guard against diabetes?

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, there are myriad ways to keep diabetes at bay, such as by controlling your weight, monitoring your nutrition and keeping a general sense of active living.

Active living in later life not only helps you to strengthen muscles, improve your mobility and balance, it also bolsters insulin sensitivity. Hence, seniors that keep an active, healthy lifestyle will be less at risk of developing diabetes.

If you're feeling worried about your sugar intake levels or diabetes in general, consult your doctor and follow their advice – they'll know what's best for you.