Sugar – The nutrition scapegoat
It gets one hell of a hard time.
Constant negative press, demonised publicly, associated with every health issue under the sun, frowned upon and avoided by dieters.
It gets treated differently to other foods and even has books and documentaries made about it!
Is sugar as bad as people think it is?
Lets start with some studies.
(I like studies).
Firstly, is sugar bad for our health?
Rippe and Angelopoulos (2016) looked at links between sugar consumption and a range of health related issues such as;
Energy regulating hormones
Accumulation of liver fat
“The data from these sources did not support linkages between sugar consumption at normal levels within the human diet and various adverse metabolic and health related effects”
This basically means sugar consumed in normal amounts has 0 effect on any health markers.
Secondly, is sugar Fattening??
Surwit Et al (1997) – Put 20 overweight women on a 6 week diet. They had the same protein, fats and carbs, however 1 group had 43% of their total calories from sugar, the other consumed 4% of total calories from sugar.
“Both diet groups showed equal significant reductions in weight and percentage body fat”.
These results provide no Justification for the exclusion of added sugar in a weight-reducing diet so long as a calorie deficit is maintained/
What does this all mean??
Sugar is neither good or bad, it just has little nutritional value.
So why does it get so much stick?
Because high sugar items taste so good!
Unfortunately they don’t do a great job at making us feel full, making it is easy to overeat them.
As we know, over consuming calories will cause us to gain fat.
High sugar foods are super hard to maintain self control with.
(Like that time after a meal out where your about to burst but you can still make room for ice cream…)
Many individuals cut down on high sugar foods and replace them in their dieting efforts for more filling and satisfying options. This is great and as a result total calories are reduced and weight is lost.
Its important to note that sugar itself is not to blame but the calorie reduction was.
So what are your take homes?
- Sugar isn’t fattening (Excess calories are).
- Sugar directly will not harm your health (Excess calories will).
- If you have any trigger foods that you regularly consume and overeat on then these are foods we’d recommend on removing and replacing with alternatives to minimise your chances of over eating.
- Other than that when consumed within a calorie allowance sugar can be enjoyed guilt free and should not be demonised, feared or frowned upon within diets.
- Including sugar within moderation can help maintain adherence to your diet and make it more varied and interesting.
It all comes back to those magical things called calories!