There are a lot myths out there about sugar consumption especially in regards to weight gain and addiction. Our goal is to help debunk these myths and provide the information you need to have a healthy relationship with sugar.
Sugar is one of the most controversial topics in nutrition right now. People often say that it’s the quickest way to ruin your health, but research actually says it might not be quite as bad as we think. So, what are the facts? Well, here is a brief analysis on this subject and everything you need to know about sugar.
A term that gets thrown around more than any other word these days is sugar. It seems like every time you turn on social media or read an article there’s someone talking about how completely nutritious this “naturally sweet” food can be if consumed in moderation, or how a diet filled with too much sugar will cause major health problems for you. It’s even worse when someone says “it’s not all that bad for you”, which is the driest of all possible statements. What exactly does sugar do to your body?
There are multiple myths that surround sugar consumption, including the idea that it is unhealthy for us. Let’s quickly go over some of these arguments, because they are based on a few facts and then completely ignore the rest. It should be noted that this article will focus primarily on sugar from animal sources, as always. Vegetable sources of sugar should remain completely off-limits as far as I’m concerned, no matter what the nutritionists or researchers say about them.
Here are 8 of the most common misconceptions about consuming sugar:
1) Sugar will make me fat – Sugar will not automatically make you fat. Rather, it’s what sugar is consumed with that may contribute to weight gain such as high-sugared containing foods such as cookies, cakes, donuts etc. Furthermore, eating too many sugary products without balancing them out with nutritional foods can lead to midsection gut.
2) Low-fat foods are better for me than full-fat options – It’s all about moderation. At the end of the day, it is recommended by most experts to eat foods in moderation. Even though a typical bagel may have only 1-2 grams of sugar, eating a whole bagel will not be good for you . The same goes for any other food products containing sugar.
3) Sugar gives me energy – Sugar does not make you feel more active than someone who consumes other sources of energy such as protein and complex carbohydrates. The only time consuming anything will make you less energetic is when it’s consumed on an empty stomach which leads to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
4) Sugar is addictive – Sugar may be addictive, but it doesn’t have the same effect of pure opioid drugs. Sugar addiction is not the same as substance addiction such as cocaine, heroin or alcohol. The difference is that sugar can cause a high but it doesn’t lead to dependency.
5) I will gain weight if I eat too much sugar – The opposite is true. The body can easily become sensitive to sugar and especially in the dieting world this means that it can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Consuming glucose from another source such as carbohydrates or protein will help prevent this side effect of consuming too much sugar .
6) I should be concerned if it contains High-Fructose Corn Syrup – We have previously stated that Glucose from HFCS is not the same as naturally occurring glucose . There are some studies that may prove otherwise, but at the end of the day, unless you know someone who has a severe allergy to corn syrup this will not be a concern for you.
7) All sugar is created equal – As we have previously stated , all types of sugars are NOT created equally. Fructose (sugar found in fruit) is different than sucrose (table sugar). Sucrose is 50% glucose and 50% fructose while HFCS is typically 55% fructose and 45% glucose.
8) Sugar is as harmful as alcohol or tobacco – This is simply not true. At the end of the day sugar can be consumed in moderation. To compare sugar consumption with alcohol and tobacco (which are neurotoxins) may not be fair.
We hope this helps clarify any confusion about sugar consumption. Sugar can have a place in our diet as long as it’s consumed in moderation. It is important to note that not all sugar is created equal. Fructose (which can be found in fruit) is a completely different metabolic product than glucose (which you find in starches and grains). This can have an impact on weight management, blood sugar regulation, insulin response, and several other processes that we don’t fully understand.
But since fructose has negligible effects on weight and blood sugar regulation combined with its low caloric density it may be put back in the diet considering the potential side effects of other sugars when consumed in large amounts. There are some recent studies showing adverse effects of HFCS consumption on body weight, but this may be due to other components of various products that contain HFCS such as added sugars or sodium.