Is Sugar Really Bad for You?

More and more articles lately mentioning sugar's health risks, while ignore any other food. In this article, we will talk about sugar and put things in place.

Many people write about the dangers of sugar consumption, but they avoid to say about the other foods that are also dangerous for our health. For example, in a diet that includes fried eggs with bacon and a cup of coffee, people will blame the bread they eat or the sugar they put in their coffee, that makes them fat and will not even mention or blame the rest. And of course, they will never blame coffee, this legal drug that has already connected with many diseases.

Most, and especially those who are (or say they are) nutritionists, 'forgot' any other food and they prefer to blame sugar and bread for health risks or obesity, but they are suggesting more and more people to start eating a lot of animal products, while avoiding anything contains carbs.

And yet, meat has been associated with cancer [1], high blood pressure [2], heart problems and heart attack [3, 4], diabetes [5], dementia and Alzheimer's disease [6], obesity [7, 8], osteoporosis [28, 29] and many other diseases [7]. In general, every modern disease hides behind and a "connection" from meat eating.

On the other hand, dairy and poultry have also been linked to many diseases, something that specialists avoid to mention, but they insist on blaming sugar for obesity, which makes me think that it's all about finding the scapegoat and forget about the other foods (and the money/advertising around them).

As sugar I'm talking about the white or brown sugar you buy from any super market and not any other sweetener presented in foods, as those are generally mentioned as sugar too [8].

Here we must say that many foods that are "light" or "diet", contains high-fructose corn syrup in order to avoid mentioning the word "sugar", which high-fructose corn syrup has been linked to obesity [9, 10], diabetes [11] and an increase in triglycerides and fat [12].

In fact, high-fructose corn syrup is not functionally different from honey (which many people use instead sugar) and fruit juices [13], which means that the consumption of honey on the pretext of being healthier is wrong.

The same goes for saccharin or other substitutes to sugar, which are even more hazardous to health than sugar itself, but I will write more about this next time.

People are terrified by the various articles and in their attempt to find something to substitute sugar, they are consuming products more dangerous than the sugar itself. And yet, you can safely consume sugar daily without having to use a chemical product instead to enjoy your favorite beverage. Read more at the end.

In That Sugar Film (2014), the presenter put himself in a test increasing the amount of sugar he consumed while he measure the results. But what they do not emphasize in the film is that by consuming products containing sugar for the film's needs (or avoiding them, as in The Great Sugar Hunt), he also consumes products containing saturated fat, high-fructose corn syrup and various vegetable oils that have been shown to cause obesity and increasing "bad" cholesterol. So we do not know what really causes problems to the body, is the sugar, the vegetable oils or the high-fructose corn syrup? So we are talking in general and just blame "sugar".

Sugar and cancer

Many articles mention sugar as carcinogenic or responsible for the rapid development of cancer in cancer patients. Those words are usually from sites that also write about "alternative" cancer therapies that are more dangerous than sugar [14]. The logic behind this is the fact that since all the cells (and the cancerous) rely on glucose to survive, it means that sugar helps cancer cells grow, which is a myth [15].

The body breaks down the sugar and distributes it to all cells in our body, without choosing which cells to receive more sugar than the others [16].

Sure, you should reduce processed foods for a better life quality, but that does not mean that carbohydrates or sugar contribute to the growth or spread of cancer or, on the contrary, super-foods reduce the chances of developing cancer [17, 18, 19, 20].

How much sugar can I consume daily?

There is no official limit for daily intake of sugar. For example, heart.org says that the daily amount of sugar should not exceed 9 teaspoons for men and 6 for women [21], while the Institute of Medicine emphasizes that the maximum daily intake should be 25% of your total calories [22].

Previously, in the 1992 dietary pyramid, they considered as a maximum quantity 12 teaspoons of sugar for a 2200 calorie diet (about 10%) [23]. In 2002, 10 teaspoons were considered safe in Europe [24], while the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that only 10% of our calories should be derived from sugar [25].

WHO last reduced the rate to 5% [26], while the British Health System recommends that only 10% of the calories must come from sugar [27].

As you can see, most organisms recommend that calories from sugar to not exceed 10% of our total calories. In a typical 2000 calorie diet, this means 200 calories, 10-12 teaspoons or 50 grams of sugar (25 grams of fructose) and includes:

Sugar contained in sweets, chocolates, breads, baguettes, sandwiches, in sauces, ketchup, etc.
All fructose-containing sweeteners, such as honey, fructose syrup, agave syrup and maple syrup, sugar (white, brown, sugar cane, etc.).
The natural sugar found in natural juices, since natural juice is essentially pure sugar, as long as the fiber of the fruit is removed.

Final Notes

In a nutshell, do not be afraid to consume sugar, even if you are on a diet. Do not drink black and bitter coffee (and/or other beverages) or use health-hazardous sugar substitutes, believing that you are doing something good to your body. Sugar in small quantities is not dangerous to your health or your silhouette.

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