Is Sugar Bad For You?

If sugar is bad and "toxic", then what do you think of the fruit?

This is the hypothetical question that rarely receives the answer – or is even considered – for anyone considering a sugar-free diet

Before you get into the easy idea of ​​selling sugar as the root of all ills, you might want to consider the familiarity of the script. Yesterday, fats were going to kill you. Today, fats are on the way to redemption – some are not as unhealthy as we thought while others have benefits to the hidden health.

But in the minds of many, an "obvious" enemy emerged: Carbohydrates and, more specifically, Sugar

And yet, the question remains: "Is sugar bad for you" in any dose, or, like almost everything else, does the problem depend more on your diet and of its origin? As you deepen the scientific knowledge, you will find that not consuming sugar can be useless if you want to lose fat, live longer and feel good every day.

Not all sugars are created equal

Sugar is much more than the white you put in your coffee. (This is sucrose .)

In biochemistry, a sugar is either a monosaccharide or a disaccharide ("saccharides" being another name for "carbohydrates").

A monosaccharide is a simple sugar.
A disaccharide is a sugar composed of two simple sugars.
An oligosaccharide is composed of two to ten simple sugars.
A polysaccharide is composed of two or more simple sugars (300 to 1000 glucose molecules in starch).

In summary, all carbohydrates are composed of simple sugars. If we return to the example of sucrose, or table sugar, it is actually a disaccharide of simple sugars glucose and fructose .

Meanwhile, starch, dietary fiber and cellulose are polysaccharides. This is an important distinction for those of you who keep points at home: the fiber – something that most people know as good – is also a form of sugar.

Of these three, we can only digest starch, which is composed of glucose. Starch is also what you've probably heard called "complex carbohydrates" or "slow carbohydrates" – slow because the body needs time to break them down into simple sugars (especially glucose, "blood sugar") .

So, the idea of ​​a true sugar free diet means eliminating a lot of foods that are perfectly healthy. Of course, you can live without ingesting sugars, or even carbohydrates … but only because your body can synthesize the glucose it needs from fatty acids and fats. ;amino acids.

This happens because your body needs sugar. Glucose is needed as fuel for important functions, such as the nervous system and the brain. (Yes, your brain does not only work on glucose, but it needs glucose and glucose helps cells to interact .)

Perhaps more importantly, there are many perfectly healthy foods that contain sugar (see below). Any sugar-free diet that insists on removing all of the following foods can not be foolproof, right? And that's the point: any diet that goes to extremes is often misguided, and that includes the catch-all "do not eat sugar."

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Many healthy foods contain sugar, here is a non-exhaustive list

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Answer the question: Is sugar bad for you?

Like most things in life, poison is in the dose.

As we have seen, your body actually needs sugars, to the point that it will make even if you avoid all carbohydrates.

But consuming too much sugar leads to Type II diabetes and to obesity (although overeating makes you fat even if you do not consume a lot of carbohydrates) . Too much sugar also causes an increase in the final products of advanced glycation, and thus skin damage and a greater risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease .

That's why added sugar can be dangerous: not because it's "as addictive as cocaine" ( it can be addictive but not as much as cocaine or cocaine. eating ] himself ). The real danger with sugar is not that it grows inherently. One gram of sugar is still just 4 calories. And 4 calories will not make you fat. However, you can eat a lot of sugar and not feel full. So you eat sugar … and then more … and more … and the next thing you know, is that a box of cookies is gone – and you're still hungry.

Added sugars are too easy to overuse. That's true of every sugar addition, no matter how good its sound. For example, cane sugar, while natural, is not much healthier than other sources of sucrose. Conversely, high-defaced fructose corn syrup (55% fructose, 45% glucose, usually) is not much worse than sucrose (50% fructose, 50%). % glucose).

What is particularly dangerous are the sugars in liquid form. You can drink and drink and drink massive amounts of them – enough calories to explain a five-course meal – and yet you still feel hungry . It may not be surprising, then, that soft drinks are linked to the current obesity epidemic . Soft drinks and colas are by far the main source of added sugar in the average American diet, representing 34.4% of added sugar consumed by adults and children in the United States.

In this respect, fruit juices are not healthier. In fact, they can be even worse. Why? Because the sugar in the fruit juice is fructose, which can stress the liver ( only the liver can metabolize fructose in large quantities ). Current data also indicate that fructose consumption causes greater weight gains than glucose .

But it's not the same for the sugars you find in vegetables and fruits. In fact, we must be clear so far:

There is no evidence that eating fruit, even in large quantities, will harm your health.

Unlike fruit juices whole fruits are filled . Apples although solid, contain 10% sugar … and 85% water; this alone makes them very difficult to overeat. In addition, recent studies show that whole fruits can help regulate blood sugar levels.

There is a "sweet" drink that does not pose the same threat: milk. While milk contains sugar (lactose, a disaccharide of glucose and galactose), it has much less than fruit juice, since milk also contains proteins and fats. At the time when fats were the enemy, low fat milk was considered healthier than whole milk, which is not the case today. Now that fats have been (partially) redeemed, whole milk is back in fashion – and born by lots of evidence .

So how much added sugar can I eat per day?

Here is something we can all celebrate: You do not need to feel guilty every time you eat added sugar. But you must remain aware of your consumption and do your best not to exceed these limits :

100 calories / day if you are a woman (about six teaspoons, or 25 g);
150 calories / day if you are a man (about nine teaspoons or 36 g)

What does this mean? You are watching 1 full size Snickers or about 7-8 Oreo cookies. But note that we do not say that you should add a Snickers or Oreos to your daily diet plan. The example here simply illustrates the total amount you want to cap your day. But keep in mind: The added sugar is found in many unexpected places, like the soup and the pizza .

While the average consumption of sugar in the United States could be down (it was up about 400 kcal / day in 1999-2000, rising to about 300 kcal / day in 2007-2009), it is still too high. And of course, it's an average, and the averages lie. Some people consume much less, and others … much more.

But let's say that you do not like one size fits all . You do not want to wear a measuring spoon all day or worry about how many grams of sugar you have consumed. If that's the case, here's an even simpler way to control your sugar intake. It is based on the model of the old school Pyramid Food Guide which was published in 1992 and replaced in 2005 by MyPyramid-before which was eventually replaced by whatever that thing that the government uses today.

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The base of a healthy sugar pyramid is composed of vegetables and fruits: not only do they fill, but they also provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (biologically compounded assets found in plants, some of which are beneficial to our health), in addition to sugar. Whole milk can also go. The little sugar naturally present in the bread does not count as added sugar – but the sugar that is often added during manufacturing in the United States.

As for fruit juices, honey and maple syrup, they all count as added sugar, just like high fructose corn syrup.

So that's all. Just keep this pyramid in mind. If the base of your personal sugar pyramid is wide, sprinkling a little added sugar at the top will not make it collapse. This is only when most of the sugar in your diet comes from soft drinks, sweets, cookies, breakfast cereals and other things that your pyramid might collapse, and your health too.


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Kamal Patel is director of an educational company that he co-founded in 2011. Since then, the team of Examine researchers .com has reviewed thousands of studies on supplementation and nutrition. Today, more than a million visitors each month rely on to separate the marketing hyperbole from scientific evidence.


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