Sugar or dietary sugars have been under scrutiny for years.
Sugars have been blamed for causing everything from cavities to obesity and a lot of conditions in between. Here are the facts about sugars to help you decide how to sensibly incorporate sugars into your diet
Not All Sugars Are the Same
People often think that the word sugar means table sugar. It does but it also refers to many other types of sugars including, fructose, galactose, glucose, lactose, maltose, and sucrose.
Dental Cavities are Caused by Bacteria
Sugars and cooked starches (e.g. crackers, and chips) are fermentable carbohydrates that contribute to the risk for dental cavities. In the absence of proper oral hygiene, bacteria present on the teeth can break down sugars and cooked starches to produce acid and without proper dental hygiene can eventually lead to dental cavities.
Sugars Do Not Cause Obesity
Diabetes and other serious disease sugars have a long history of safe use in foods. In addition, many health aspects of sugars have been periodically examined by independent scientists.
The totality of the data does not single out sugars as a dietary risk factor for chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Since 1997, no fewer than five leading scientific and health organizations including the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Dietetic Association have all concluded that dietary sugars are not associated with causing illness or chronic diseases, including obesity.
Sugars Do Not Cause Hyperactivity
Although the medical and scientific communities long ago concluded that sugars are not responsible for hyperactivity in children. Many parents and teachers still believe that sugar affects children’s behavior. The Institute of Medicine reviewed more than 23 studies conducted over a 12-year period and concluded that sugar intake does not affect hyperactivity in children.
Although it is true that a poor diet -one low in nutrients and energy- can lead to poor test performance.
But it is not true that restricting any single food or any single food ingredient will improve behavior. In fact, some studies have shown the opposite to be true: across all age groups, consuming small amounts of sugar has been shown to boost performance on tests of mental abilities and staying on task.
Sugar Is Not “Addictive”
We are genetically inclined to like sweet foods and for good reasons mother’s milk is sweet; sweet-tasting foods such as berries are safe and nutritious foods while bitter substances often are poisonous; and glucose, which tastes sweet, is the only fuel that the brain can use.
Without a “taste” for sweets, our ancestors would not have survived. Today, even though most people can easily find the food sources they need for survival, we still are genetically inclined to like and enjoy sweet foods. This does not, however, mean that these foods are “addictive”. Drugs of abuse are addictive in a way that individuals crave the substance and abuse it without control due to induced physiological changes in the brain. Food sustains life while these drugs do not. Eliminating Sugars From Your Diet
As sugars are ingredients in favorite foods is natural to suspect that they have a role in contributing to over-consumption and increased body weight. The truth is that epidemiological studies have shown that high sucrose diets are not linked to higher body weight. In fact, high sugar intakes are often linked to lower BMI. Several studies have found that as the percent of sugar in the diet increases, body weight, and BMI decrease. In 2002, a report on dietary carbohydrates and sugars noted that for both children and adults, higher intakes of sugars tend to be associated with lower BMI or obesity.