Dispelling Myths about

Sugar

Priya Seetal is the Senior Dietitian (RDSA) at SASA.


1
Myths about Sugar
Brown Sugar is healthier than White Sugar


TRUTH


Many people may believe that brown sugar is healthier, however nutritionally speaking, brown sugar and white sugar are not much different .


Brown sugar gets its distinctive colour and differs from white sugar due to the presence of molasses, which is removed during the production of white sugar. Brown and white sugar may taste a little different but they are both contain 16.8kJ (4 calories) per gram of energy and are processed by the body in the same way and become glucose. Glucose is used by the body for energy.


The real differences between the two are taste and the effects on baked goods . The type of sugar you use should therefore be based on taste and preference.


Additional Notes: Because of its molasses body, brown sugar does contain certain trace minerals, most notably calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium (white sugar contains none of these). But since these minerals are present in only tiny amounts, there is no real health benefit to using brown sugar over white sugar.








2
Myths about Sugar
Table Sugar is not natural


TRUTH


Sucrose (table sugar) is made naturally by plants .


Plants contain varying amounts of different sugars, such as glucose, fructose and sucrose. Sucrose (table sugar) is made up of glucose and fructose and is an abundant sugar in plants. 


According to a study publish in Nutrition Today   table sugar is exactly the same as the sucrose found in natural fruit juices and vegetables, and is used and processed by the body in exactly the same way. The sugar we add to our tea or coffee comes from the sugar cane which is a grass that contains large amounts of sucrose. 


Table sugar contains no artificial preservatives, colourings or any other additives.






3
Myths about Sugar
Sugar causes diabetes?


TRUTH


The reason why many people think that eating sugar causes diabetes is probably linked to this historical diet advice. It may also be due to the colloquial name for diabetes mellitus, which is ‘blood sugar’ or possibly explained as ‘too much sugar in the blood’. 


There is no evidence that sugar has any unique qualities that result in the development of diabetes.


The cause of diabetes is due to a complex range of factors such as being overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle and in some cases genetics. However, like protein, starch, fat and alcohol, sugar is a source of calories in the diet. Excess calories can lead to being overweight which can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.







4
Myths about Sugar
Sugar is addictive


TRUTH


Professor Benton from Swansea University in Wales concluded that the current scientific evidence do not support the claim that sugar is addictive. 


His study publish in the journal, Clinical Nutrition stated rational reasons as to why sugar is not addictive.


If you are addicted to sugar then eating sugar straight out of the sugar jar would satisfy the craving. Yet, food cravings are most commonly reported for either savoury/salty foods such as chips or sweet/fatty combinations such as chocolate. These combinations contribute to the texture and mouth feel. For example a person would have cravings for a slice of cake more than they would a sweetened carbonated beverage. This is despite the fact that the sweetened beverage contains more sugar than the cake. 


Experts from the NeuroFAST Consortium recently produced a Consensus opinion on food addiction stating that “there is no evidence that a specific food, food ingredient or food additive causes a substance based type of addiction.”






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