Humans have been using sugar since the 5th century. And since that time, humans have been consuming it in record amounts. In fact in 1801, historians estimate each American consumed 8.4 pound of sugar each year. In 1909, Americans consumed 85 pounds of sugar a year (6 lbs of corn sweeteners, 80 lbs of cane and beet sugar). In 1999 Americans consumed 151 pounds of sugar (84 lbs from corn sweeteners). Oh and by the way a person dies from Type 2 Diabetes every 7 seconds and it wasn’t officially discovered until 1935! Wow! There is a direct relationship to the amount of sugar one ingests to the potential for contracting Type 2 Diabetes.
Sugar is very debilitating to the human body, causing hormone issues and ultimately leading to Type 2 Diabetes. It is also very addicting. Princeton University did a study and found that sugar has the same effects on the brain as cocaine and other street drugs do. “Our evidence from an animal model suggests that bingeing on sugar can act in the brain in ways very similar to drugs of abuse,” says lead researcher and Princeton psychology professor Bart Hoebel. Some of this information may surprise you, as there are a lot of myths out there as it relates to sure. Here are a few, with the real story.
Both “reduced sugar” and “No added sugar” mean the product has no sugar? NO
FDA allows the term “reduced sugar” on all products that have 25% less sugar than the leading brand. Meaning that the product could still have 75% of the sugar content of the original formula. “No added sugar” is used for a variety of foods with naturally occurring sugars such as jams, jellies, yogurt, milk, tomato sauce.
If a food is labeled “sugar free,” it contains no sugar? Not necessarily
“Sugar free” foods can legally contain trace amounts of sugar (less than .5 grams per serving). Meaning 1/8 of teaspoon of sugar might be in the food you are eating. If you consume one serving its no big deal, but if you are eating several of these items it could add up.
“Low fat” and “Fat free” mean “Sugar free?” False
Low fat yogurt is a perfect example, low in fat but high in sugar. It is possible the product could have more sugar than its high fat counterpart. Many low fat muffins, breads, cookies and salad dressings have more sugar than the regular product. Many of these products also contain health harming artificial sweeteners.
Raw sugar, brown rice syrup, and maple syrup are better for you than refined sugar? No
This is a way manufactures fool consumers by capitalizing on their desire for natural sugars. Raw sugar and maple syrup have different flavors but their nutritional value is no different than plain table sugar. They are all metabolized like sucrose raising blood sugar levels and suppressing the immune system.
Fruit juice concentrates are better for you than refined sugars? False
Foods containing orange, pineapple, or other fruit concentrates may look healthy but they are metabolized in the same way as refined sugars. Fruit concentrate is stripped of its vitamins and minerals, fiber.
Honey is much better for you than sugar and we process it differently? Not true
Honey is made up of 1/3 fructose, 1/3 glucose, a little maltose and water. Honey is more concentrated than sugar. It has 5 grams of sugar per teaspoon versus 4 grams for table sugar. Some studies even have shown that honey raises your glucose levels higher than table sugar and suppresses your white blood cell count more.
Sucrose is natural? NOPE
In its natural state sugar would be a 20 foot cane stalk. Natural means you can pick it off a tree or bush or dig it out. To make sugar, sugar they have to add hydrocholoric acid or sulfuric acid to rid it of impurities. In addition, sodium nitrate or salt is added as are chlorine and other harmful agents.
Anything labeled “All Natural” is better than anything refined? No
There is no legal term for using the word natural under US food law. Companies can call anything natural that they want. In fact some sweeteners are made from all natural ingredients but are highly concentrated sources of sugars
Fructose comes only from fruit? No
Fruit consists of many sugars, only one of them is fructose. Fruit also contains glucose, dextrose, maltose, galactose. You can also get fructose from processed foods and beverages as well as pharmaceuticals, flavors and cosmetics. Fructose typically is chemically refined from corn in the US. People get it confused because they think of fruit. Fructose is more readily metabolized to a form of triglycerides in the liver and in the blood.
Sweeteners are ok to use in substitute of sugar? No
Most popular sweeteners used today:
High fructose corn syrup
These cause water retention and decrease potassium, causing the adrenal glands dysfunction because of the mineral imbalance.
At the end of the day most of us (myself included) have physical goals related to decreasing our body fat. The first place I would start in that quest would be to evaluate the amount of sugar I took in. From here we can decrease as necessary to achieve our goals. Foods higher than 5 grams per serving of sugar would be the first I would dispense of. This is easier said than done but keep it simple and great things will come.