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The truth about sugar you wanted to hear

Find out if you believe in popular sugar myths.

What first comes to mind when you say “sugar”? If you mentally added the phrase “white death”, then congratulations, you are under the influence of those who are trying in every way to give sugar anathema and exclude anyone they meet from the diet. Sugar-free marathons, the replacement of refined sugar with exotic relatives, such as coconut sugar and other countermeasures against “sweet life,” advocates for healthy lifestyle are in every way possible. But is this white “beast“ so scary? Let us examine a few myths that are firmly entrenched in our heads.
  • Any sugar is bad sugar 
When nutritionists and research doctors say that we should eat less sugar, it’s about added sugar. This is an additional sugar in foods that makes them taste sweet (for example, sugar in chocolate chip cookies or honey in cereal). 

Added sugar is different from sugar, which is found in nature in some products, such as fruits or milk, because in this case, in addition to it, you still get vitamins and minerals, and not empty calories.

Sources of added sugar are desserts, sugary drinks, canned foods, yogurts, etc.

  • Minimally processed or natural sugars - better
Indeed, minimally processed sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup, contain more nutrients than highly processed ones, such as white sugar. But the amount of these nutrients is negligible, so they will not have a noticeable effect on your health.

For our body, all sources of sugar are the same, and it does not distinguish whether you ate maple syrup or white refined sugar. The digestive tract breaks down all sources of sugar into simple sugars called monosaccharides. And all these sugars contain 4 calories in 1 gram, so they all equally affect weight.
  • You must completely eliminate sugar from the diet. 
You do not need to completely exclude added sugar from your life. Different health organizations give different recommendations regarding the amount of sugar you should consume per day. But they all agree that there is room for sugar in a healthy diet.

  • Sugar will make you sick 
You may have heard more than once that sugar can cause heart disease, Alzheimer's, or cancer. But consuming moderate amounts of sugar does not increase the risk of these diseases, studies have shown that additional sugar consumption is not associated with an increased risk of death.

While a moderate amount of sugar does not harm your health, excess sugar can put you at risk for obesity. But an excess of potato chips, cheese or even brown rice can pose the same danger. 

Excessive total calories in the diet, including due to sugar, contribute to weight gain, which can lead to obesity and the occurrence of chronic disease.
  • Sugar is a drug and addictive
Sugar really stimulates the pathways in the brain that are associated with a sense of pleasure and reward. It can cause effects similar to the use of psychoactive substances, but it does not make sugar addictive, like drugs. 

Eating sweets causes a sharp increase and decrease in blood sugar, which can lead to fatigue and headache. This effect often makes you want to eat even more sweets in order to stabilize your blood sugar and improve your well-being.

  • A low-sugar or sugar-free diet can help you lose weight.
Of course, limiting sugar intake can help you achieve your weight loss goals. But only if you take into account the total calorie intake. In other words, having a 600-calorie egg and sausage sandwich instead of a regular 300-calorie cup of sweet cereal will not help you fit into your favorite skinny jeans, even if the sandwich has a lot less sugar.

What will help? Take into account the calorie content and compose your diet on the principle of 80/20, that is, 80% of the diet is healthy and the right foods, and 20% are your favorite and tasty “bads”. Thus, you can not only achieve the desired weight and maintain it, but you will also feel psychologically comfortable without breakdowns and stress.

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