As soon as we see something sickly sweet, we can’t resist saying to ourselves – Yummy! But, the very next moment, we find ourselves in an utter state of confusion with the common question that jolts our mind whenever we are in such dilemma – whether to eat this food item having sugar, or not!
Well, this usually happens because there is no proper information as to how sugar should be incorporated in our diet. We hear so much around us about sugar, but only to be left with many unanswered questions. For example, are some sugars healthier and better than others? And, is it true that if we stop having sugar, we will find answers to all our health concerns? Does ousting of sugar from our dictionary help us lose weight, handle our mood swings and ease away our acne?
Surprisingly, the answer is not probably what most of us think. Let’s look at some sugar-facts that are not known to quite a lot of us and how we should incorporate them into our diet.
- Sugar is Not Good: ‘It’s plain bad!’ Or, ‘All types of sugars are bad!’ Haven’t you heard so often that you should not each much of sugar. But this statement has a hidden meaning. It means you should have less “added” sugar. This is the extra sugar that we add to the foods for making them sweeter.
Added sugar is not the same as the one, which is found naturally in various foods like milk and fruits. Natural sugar has vitamins, nutrients and minerals. Fruits have fiber, which causes the absorption of sugar at a slower rate. So, you need not worry about fruits or dairy, such as milk, but should keep a check on processed and packaged foods and sugary drinks.
- Minimally Processed Sugars Are Not That Bad for You: It cannot be understated that sugars that are processed minimally like honey have more nutrients as compared to the processed ones like the white sugar. However, even minimally processed sugars have these nutrients in small amounts – not large enough to have some effect on your health.
In fact, our body does not differentiate between the sugar sources when it comes to digestion. The digestive tract decomposes all sugars into simpler ones, known as monosaccharides. The body does not know where it came from; whether honey, table sugar or nectar. The effect of all of these is same on the body.
- You Need to Completely Eliminate Sugar: In reality, you don’t have to do this. You just need to limit your consumption of sugar. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines say that an adult having around 2000 calories a day should consume less than 50 gm of added sugar per day. However, the American Heart Association has limited it to less than 25 gm for women and 36 gm for men. Basically, you can eat it but in moderation.
- It’s Not Only Difficult but Impossible to Quit Sugar: The U.S. Dietary guidelines reports that around 75% of the Americans consume sugar in amounts more than their daily requirement. You can maintain a food diary or enter your food intake in a food tracking app. This will let you know how much of the sweet things you are eating on a daily basis.
If you feel that you are overeating, cutting back on its consumption shouldn’t be a problem. Instead of avoiding your favorite sweets, have smaller portions of them. Be wary of the packaged food. Stuffs like bread, yogurt and tomato sauce usually contain more of added sugar. So, choose options after reading the labels and select the ones that comply with your daily prescribed limits.
- Sugar Can Make You Sick: You may have heard that sugar might lead to some cardiovascular conditions, Alzheimer’s or even cancer. But, this may not be true when you eat it moderately. A study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that consumption of added sugar is not associated with increased risk of death. But, this is when you do not overconsume it.
Having moderate amounts is innocuous but too much can lead to weight gain. When our diets have a lot of calories, including the ones coming from sugar, it may eventually result in weight gain, which could cause obesity and other chronic conditions.
- Sugar Is a Kind of Drug as We Get Addicted to It: Well, this fact has been postulated by experts that eating sugar activates the brain pathways linked to reward and pleasure. The effects may be compared to substance abuse, but it does not mean that it is addictive like drugs.
Some people feel that they get a rush when they consume sugar-based snacks, but it fades off and they need a permanent solution to their crashing. When you eat sugary foods, your blood sugar level rises as quickly as it falls down. This can cause tiredness and you may experience headaches for a while.
A recent study claims that sugar has trace amounts of addictive properties. You will do yourself a huge favor if you avoid taking added sugars like processed yogurt, breakfast pastries and ready-to-eat cereals as this will gradually help you learn manage your sugar cravings.
- Sugar-Free Replacements Are Good to Go: Consumption of sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin are associated with weight gain Studies have shown that it is related to higher risk of BP, type2 diabetes, heart attacks, etc. While the mechanism as how these sweeteners affect the body is still unknown, there is ample of evidence to assert that artificial sweeteners have negative effects on the blood sugar. These could interfere with the gut microbiota; eventually, causing obesity and associated health conditions.
- If You Follow a Low to No Sugar Diet, You Will Certainly Lose Weight: Limiting your sugar intake can help you achieve your weight loss aim. Also, it is essential to take care your total calorie intake. A no to very low sugar diet may not guarantee weight loss. So, what is going to help you? Choose a replacement. For example, replace vanilla flavored with plain yogurt. Cut out on adding more sugar to coffee and oatmeal can also help you a lot.
Eating sugar should not make you feel guilty. It is not a health food, but at the same time, it is not a poison too as it is usually presented. It’s all right to have a little bit of it. So, go ahead and enjoy!