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How Do We Handle the Hype About Sugar?



We all know that sugar (or certainly too much of it) can cause us harm.

We share some of the facts courtesy of Foodspring...

Is sugar addictive?

When we consume sugar, there is a release of natural dopamine which of course gives us a good feeling in much the same way as any pleasurable experiences.  However, this does not make sugar addictive even though it can be hard to cut back or cut it out completely.

Is all sugar unnecessary? 

Glucose (which is sugar created by breaking down carbs) is the primary source of needed energy for your cells - and in particular your brain.  Muscles also use stored glucose.

However, it is not necessary to include sugar in your diet for this to happen.  The body can make glucose from long-chain carbohydrates, such as those you find in whole-grain bread. 

Are all sugars created equal?

They are not.  Apparently, foods with sugar usually contain one or several different types of sugar molecules, each with slightly different chemical structures. These sugar molecules are broadly classified as monosaccharides or “simple” sugars (aka having one molecule) and disaccharides (aka having two molecules). Simple sugars include glucose and fructose (fruit sugar), while common disaccharides include lactose (sugar in milk) and sucrose (table sugar). These types of sugar do not have the same chemical structure as each other and are also metabolised in slightly different ways.

But our bodies are unable to tell the difference between natural sugars (those occurring naturally in food) and added sugars (sweeteners added to food such as table sugar, honey or corn syrup). Both natural and added sugars are all processed as sugar in the body.

However, the sugar in fruit does contain the bonus of vitamins, minerals and fiber while added sugar comes with no extra nutrients. 

Is brown sugar rich in minerals?

While brown sugar does have some trace amounts of nutrients (because of the molasses used to make it brown and give it a unique flavour) it is considered to be nutritionally equivalent to white sugar.

Other types of sugar may differ in taste but they all have similar calorie and sugar counts.

Do sugar-free products contain sugar?

When the words "low-sugar or sugar-free" are used, they are defined by law and have to be precise.  Sugar-free does not mean a product contains no sugar - one serving can contain a very small amount but these can add up.

In addition, “no added sugar” means that no sugar (or sugar-containing ingredient, like honey or corn syrup) was added to the product although it can still contain natural sugars from other ingredients - wheat, oats or fruit.

Are sugar substitutes always harmful?

When you use an artificial sweetener it will give you the taste of sugar with fewer calories.  Some research has suggested that artificial sweeteners may cause insulin resistance. 

Does sugar cause diseases such as diabetes?

Experts believe that excess sugar leads to weight gain which can in turn increase a person's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.  However, there are a variety of risk factors including genetics, race and ethnicity, having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), weight and lack of exercise, which can affect a person’s chances at developing diabetes.








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