Common Myths about Sugar
Sugar is a type of food necessary for our body and its optimal functioning. It provides us with energy and is especially important for our brain and nervous system. The problem with sugar is not in its regular usage, but our overly consumption of this type of food. And so nothing is more complicated than reducing sugar in our diet. The reason for this lies in the fact that there are plenty of processed products, which contain a huge quantity of hidden sugar, added during processing. Before we decide to cut sugar from our diet, we have to reconsider two basic types of sugar: natural sugars and added sugars. Natural sugars are present in fruits, dairy products, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts, while added sugars are added during food preparation. According to this, what we really want to reduce are added sugars, which lay hidden beneath different names, mainly finishing with “-ose”. The more completed list of added sugars is quoted bellow as the myth number 6. The article “7 Sugar Myths Debunked” describes 7 most common myths about sugar.
Common Myths about Sugar
1. Sugar causes hyperactivity
This is a popular myth, and how timely with Halloween just around the corner. Sugar has been studied extensively in relation to hyperactivity, and this
myth has been solidly disproven.
2. Sugar causes diabetes
This probably one of the biggest nutrition myths there is. Here’s what’s what: If you have diabetes, either Type 1 or 2, you definitely need to watch
your sugar and carbohydrate intake in order to manage blood sugar levels. However, if you don’t have diabetes, sugar intake alone won’t cause you to
develop it. The main risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are being overweight or obese, an inactive lifestyle, and a diet high in overall calories from any
3. Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar
The idea that brown and white sugar have big differences is another common nutrition myth. Brown sugar is actually just white sugar with molasses added
back into it. It does contain very tiny amounts of some minerals due to the molasses content, but unless you eat a massive amount of brown sugar every
day (please don’t), the nutritional difference between brown sugar and white sugar is a moot point.
4. ‘Natural’ sugar is healthier than refined sugar
Coconut sugar, date sugar, agave nectar and other natural sugars are touted as healthier and more nutritious alternatives to refined sugar.
Real talk: Sugar is still sugar. Regardless of the fact that it is less refined, it still contains around the same calories as white sugar and is
metabolized in the same way. These natural sugars do contain some minerals, but you’d have to eat a LOT of the sugar in order to reap any nutritional
benefits… which kind of defeats the purpose of using a natural sugar, no?
5. Sugar-free is healthier
This really depends. Are we talking sugar-free because this item has actually been made without sugar? Then yes. But if we’re talking sugar-free because
an artificial sweetener as been used instead of sugar, then hold up.
There seems to be a new study published on artificial sweeteners published practically ever other week linking everything from disrupted gut bacteria to
weight gain and diabetes to consumption of these sweeteners.
6. There’s no sugar in this product
Just because it says so doesn’t mean there isn’t sugar added, and labelling laws can make it tricky to identify if that’s the case. Just last week I
picked up a box of granola that said “no added sugars!” on the front only to list oligofructose in the list of ingredients. (Remember, “ose” = sugar.)
Sugar has a plethora of disguises used on food labels, such as dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, invert sugar, maltose, corn
sweetener, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, lactose, raw sugar, sucrose, sugar syrup, cane crystals, cane sugar, crystalline fructose, evaporated
cane juice, corn syrup solids, and malt syrup.
7. Avoid eating too much fruit
Fruit contains carbohydrates, mainly in the form of the naturally occurring sugar, fructose. Vegetables also contain carbohydrates, but typically much
less than fruits, and therefore they contain fewer calories.
That naturally occurring fructose is coupled with fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help guard against disease. The
soluble fiber in fruit helps lower cholesterol; the insoluble fiber helps moderate the absorption of sugar into the blood stream, stabilize blood sugar
and keep you satiated.
Added sugars are essential part of many products, which are not easy to avoid. However, soft drinks, candy, cookies, sweetened milk products, and cakes contain the most added sugars and should be avoided. They add empty calories in our diet and do not contribute in increasing healthy nutrients. Moreover, they decrease absorption of antioxidants, calcium, and vitamins and raise the risk of cardiovascular diseases, LDL, and obesity. If we want to lower the sugar intake, then we have to minimize the products reach in added sugar, carefully read labels on the back of products, and eliminate all useless sugar. The less they are a part of our diet, the healthier we will be.