Common Myths About Sugar

All sugar is bad and you should cut it out completely

We repeatedly hear that we should be eating less sugar, or even that we should cut it out entirely. This isn’t completely true. Naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruits and milk come along with many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. It’s food with added sugar, such as sugary drinks, desserts, and processed foods that we should be limiting. 

 

Natural sugar alternatives are healthier than sugar

It’s a common belief that replacing sugar with a natural alternative, such as honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup, is much better for you than using white sugar. While it’s true that they contain more nutrients than processed sugar, the amount of those nutrients are very tiny. 

At the end of the day, these sugar alternatives are still made of sugar, and in your body all sugars are treated the same. Both sugar and honey/other alternatives can have negative impacts on your health when consumed in excess. 

 

It’s impossible to avoid sugar

It’s not impossible to cut back on our sugar intake if we realise we’re having too much. It’s important to be aware of what we eat and drink, and how much sugar they contain. Check packaged foods such as bread, yogurt, cereal, soft drinks, and even sauces/condiments – some foods that contain high amounts of sugar may surprise you! 

It doesn’t mean that you have to stop having things you enjoy, but maybe save them for an occasional treat, and try to have smaller portions. 

Consuming sugar will cause health problems 

Eating sugar in moderation isn’t going to take years of your life – but as is the case with many types of foods, eating too much sugar certainly could lead to health problems. So treating yourself now and then is ok, try to stick to your daily limit and you will be just fine! 

 

Sugar is an addiction

Many people compare sugar to a drug and say that it is an addiction. It’s true that consuming sugar can stimulate parts of the brain that are associated with pleasure and reward, but this doesn’t mean it is addictive like drugs. 

The reason people can get a rush from eating sugar and then keep seeking more to stop them from crashing is actually due to the effect it has on blood sugar levels. When we eat sugar, it causes a spike in blood sugar, and later when that level quickly drops it can make a person feel tired and could cause headaches. This can lead to a person wanting to keep consuming sugar in order to stabilise their blood sugar and help them feel better.  

It’s better to buy ‘sugar-free’ products

It might seem like a great idea to trade sugary products for sugar-free alternatives, such as diet soft drinks or sugar-free biscuits. Perhaps surprisingly, though, that trade is unlikely to actually be healthier. Consuming sweeteners are actually linked to weight gain, as well as a higher risk of heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, and even type 2 diabetes! 

It’s still not fully understood what effect these artificial sweeteners have on the body, but evidence points to them having a negative impact on blood sugar, and possibly also on gut bacteria!