Sugar: is it really an enemy?

Research reveals the dangers of our diets

With many lifestyle diseases on the increase, we have a responsibility to take a closer look at our modern diet. Sugary drinks and snacks abound. There are also hidden sugars lurking in just about everything. You just have to read the ingredients labels on food packaging to realise just how much of the stuff we are actually inadvertently ingesting. This spells bad news as research has revealed links between sugar and various metabolic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Why is sugar so bad for us?

To put it simply… Eating regular sugar overloads the liver. Over a period of time, you will develop a fatty liver. This in turn causes metabolic problems that increase the risk of developing the above-mentioned illnesses.

What about sugar substitutes?

Are any of the alternatives to ordinary sucrose really all that healthy? I’m talking about things like coconut sugar, agave syrup, rice malt syrup (brown rice syrup), honey, stevia, etc. There are advantages and disadvantages here. So, to summarise: it’s best to cut these out as well. If you really have a sweet tooth, honey is a natural food and is fine in very small amounts.

Natural sugar vs. added sugar

As I’ve mentioned, honey is acceptable in moderation because it contains natural sugar. Other natural sugars include those found in fruit, vegetables, and dairy products. (This does not include fruit juices!) Added or ‘free’ sugars are extracted from their original source and then added to food. Natural sugars are completely acceptable, but added or free sugars need to be avoided.

Avoid the marketing trap

Don’t be fooled by marketing tricks. When reading an ingredients label, sugar might be listed under another name. As a general guide, any ingredient ending in ‘ose’ (e.g. glucose, lactose, fructose, etc) is a sugar. Marketers have also gotten savvy and started listing sugar as ‘evaporated cane juice’, ‘fruit concentrate’, ‘organic palm sugar’, and other sneaky terms.

Avoiding added sugars is a MUST if you are diabetic, want to lose weight, have metabolic problems, or simply want to look and feel great on a daily basis.