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Debunking 5 not-so-sweet myths about sugar

Sugar, as we all know, has received a bad rap over the last few years. But is it really that bad or not? We’ve got all the answers for you!
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Sugar can affect your gut health! Image courtesy:
Paraj Primlani Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 01:55 pm IST
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Sugar has always been a source of controversy across the health and fitness circles. Is it good or bad? Well, there are countless opinions regarding the impact of sugar consumption on our bodies. In fact, there are several myths surrounding sugar that are in wide circulation. For instance, it is common to hear that eating sugar can make you fat, or it can give you diabetes. More frequent are ones like eating sweets will rot your teeth or will decrease your immunity, as it is bad for your health. But are these really true, or simply a matter of hearsay?

Well, there is considerable historical evidence to show that sugar has been the cause of tooth decay, heart disease and even obesity. No wonder, many of us tend to feel guilty after consuming even an ordinary quantity of sugar. The truth is sugar is bad only in excessive quantities. People who think that sugar must be removed in entirety from one’s diet are actually mistaken. There are certain misconceptions concerning sugar that must be cleared. 

Sugar is not just about sweets. It is also hidden in many foods. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

It’s not that you can eat all the sugar in the world and still feel great. The trick lies in moderation. Sugar, when consumed in normal amounts, as part of a regular diet, works fine. No matter what you have been told, a little bit of sweetness is not a problem. What are sugars, really? They are merely a form of carbohydrates that act as fuel and provide vital energy to your body. 

However, sugar has achieved considerable notoriety in recent times. You will find a number of fitness freaks and celebrities preaching about the ill-effects of sugar and telling kids to stay away from sweets. All because of a few myths that have become a part of popular culture, and have even gained acceptance as truths.

The truth: sugar does not make you overweight

This is actually true. It is overeating and not the sugar that’s making you fat. A body’s weight depends on the amount of calories consumed rather than the sugar intake. Therefore, if you impart excess energy to your body, whether it is in the form of surplus proteins, carbs or fats, your chances of putting on excess weight will obviously increase. You can eat everything including sugary foods, as long as you maintain a firm balance. 

Also Read: Are you eating too much sugar? Here are 8 tell-tale signs to look out for

Overeating sugar is a no-no! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
The truth: sugar is bad only if eat too much, and don’t exercise

Your body can easily absorb simple sugars, provided you work out frequently and aren’t overweight. If you do not exercise regularly, and belong to the heavier side, you should consider staying away from sugary foods. It’s not that you will catch diabetes if you occasionally eat a little more sugar than required. It is important to remember that excess of anything is not good, as it can harm your health. The body generally stores excess sugar in the form of fat for later usage. 

An adult can consume anything between 5-8 teaspoons of sugar every day. It basically boils down to your body type and health objectives.

The truth: It is not addictive

It’s not a drug, after all. All it does is give you some energy along with a feel-good sensation. There is no evidence to support that sugar is addictive, as long as you don’t consume more than the prescribed amount. It is 6 teaspoons for females, and 8 teaspoons for males. 

The truth: all sugars are same and differ only in name

As far as the body is concerned, whether white sugar, brown sugar, or honey, it’s all sugar that’s going to break down into glucose. They are all different forms of carbohydrates that energize the body. And while each kind of sugar has its own set of advantages and drawbacks, substituting one for the other will lend no benefit. However, stevia is a form of naturally-occurring zero-calorie sugar that you can adopt in your everyday diet. 

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Also Read: Did you know brushing after a meal can curb sugar cravings? Sweet!

Want to guard yourself against diabetes? Cut down on sugar. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
The truth: eating Sugar will not lead to diabetes

Diabetes is primarily an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the cells responsible for producing insulin in the pancreas are damaged. This is generally a result of some malfunctioning in the body’s immune system. Diabetes has no relation to your sugar intake. and you are likely to develop the disease if you are overweight or obese. That’s because additional fat which accumulates in the body can cause insulin resistance. Therefore, if you weigh above what is deemed as normal, eating sugars can indirectly lead to type-2 diabetes. The bottom line is if you eat a sugary and calorie-dense diet with little or no physical workout, you will be vulnerable to numerous ailments, including diabetes and obesity. 

The truth: sugar doesn’t give you cavities

Contrary to popular belief, sugar is not the root cause behind tooth cavities. Cavities occur due to acidic foods and drinks that erode the enamel in the teeth. The main reason why sugar is cast in such a negative light is due to its omnipresent nature in all unhealthy yet tasty foods. It is not the sugar that’s causing the cavities, but the unmitigated mish-mash of various food types in the mouth. 

Also Read: I quit sugar for 40 days and it changed my life completely. Here’s what happened

The last word

In conclusion, it is necessary to remind yourself that excess of anything is bad for the body. Therefore, having too much sugar will definitely invite a number of health complications. But glucose is necessary for the body, as it provides vital energy. It is nearly impossible as well as impractical to eliminate sugar from your diet, as almost everything from potatoes to fruits to starchy foods contain a high glycemic index. Rest assured, all you need is to restrict your sugar consumption to recommended levels and all should be fine.      

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