Do you know how much sugar you consume throughout the day? Ingesting too much of this product can have harmful effects on health, leading to overweight, tooth decay, or cardiovascular disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends reducing the daily consumption of free sugars to less than 10% in adults and children. Additionally, a reduction below 5% in total caloric intake would have additional health benefits. The consumption of this product should indeed be moderate but not eliminate from the diet.
Is it wrong for your health? Does brown sugar make you less fattening? The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) has dismantled five statements surrounding sugar consumption.
Sugar is not suitable for health, and it is better to eliminate it from the diet.
Does beet sugar have health benefits?
Consumers receive the message that all sugars must be eliminated from the daily diet, but it is necessary to distinguish between naturally occurring sugar in food and added sugar. This is not always easy since, in many products, it does not appear on the labelling.
“It is considered scientifically proven that the simple sugars found in these foods (such as fruits or vegetables) do not have adverse health effects and that there is no reason to stop consuming them, quite the contrary,” emphasizes the OCU.
In fact, in the WHO sugar intake guideline for 2015 (expected to be updated this year), the body differentiates free sugars from those found in fruits and vegetables for its recommendations. Intrinsic. Thus, it advises reducing the consumption of “free sugars” that include “monosaccharides and disaccharides added to food by manufacturers, cooks or consumers, as well as the sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, juices. fruit and fruit juice concentrates. “
Brown or whole-grain sugar is better than white sugar.
The OCU advises that all these products are sucrose and have a similar amount of calories. “What varies is the process of obtaining and refining, which is what makes differences in appearance and texture.”
In this sense, although whole wheat may contain a bit more nutrients, there is a risk of consuming more amounts of brown and whole sugar “by mistakenly thinking that they are better than refined sugar.”
Other researchers from the same country wondered if there could not be “reverse causality,” if it could not be that it was the state of mind that influenced the diet and not the other way around. The answer they came up with was no: neither depression nor common mental disorders predicted changes in eating.
In contrast, the same study (published in 2017) revealed that men in the highest third of intake of sweet foods or sugary drinks were – after five years – 23% more likely to suffer from a mental disorder.
Sugars in the blood, by binding to proteins, carry out a process known as glycation, resulting in compounds called advanced glycation end products (known as AGEs). This is natural, but one of its effects is cell death and, therefore, ageing.
If sugar is consumed in excess, this entire process is accelerated, which causes wrinkles and other marks of the passage of time to appear earlier. Glycation also alters the quality of collagen. In addition to more facial lines, this contributes to a more dry and dull skin appearance.
Furthermore, sugars promote inflammation, increasing the risk of suffering from dermatological disorders such as acne and rosacea, especially in people prone to these problems.
Difficulty satisfying hunger
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas, which allows the body to use glucose for energy. If a person ingests too much sugar, the pancreas works too hard: it generates very high amounts of insulin, which are a risk factor for diabetes and alter appetite regulation.
This is because hyperinsulinemia – the presence of a higher than average amount of insulin in the blood – is involved in this process, along with other hormones such as leptin (which inhibits the feeling of hunger, that is, it stimulates satiety). And ghrelin (which does the opposite: induces the urge to eat).
Therefore, sugars have adverse effects due to their intake itself and because they encourage you to continue ingesting. Something that favours overweight and obesity, with all its derived negative consequences, is also related to the following, the last point of this list.
There is no consensus among health professionals about whether it can be ensured –even in cases of compulsive ingestion of some product– that there is a food addiction. On the other hand, some products, including sweets (and very salty ones, carbohydrates, fats and ultra-processed ones), can be considered “potentially addictive.”
That’s because consuming sugar causes the brain to release dopamine and opioids, substances that are also activated when engaging in other pleasurable and addictive activities, from using drugs to having sex.
For this reason, although in human beings, it is not confirmed that one can speak of “sugar addiction,” the behaviours that this product generates on certain occasions also place it in a place of risk.
There are healthier alternatives to sweetening sugar.
Many people use other products such as honey or agave syrup to sweeten coffee, desserts, or other dishes. However, the OCU cautions that “these sweeteners contain almost as much sugar as table sugar.” The calorie profile is similar, and “barely traces of other nutrients are not enough to justify its reputation as healthier.” The nutritional data for every 50 grams indicates that white sugar contains 50 grams of sugar, brown sugar 49 grams, honey 38 grams and agave syrup 34 grams.
Sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks and sports drinks are the primary source of added sugars in the American diet. Juices naturally contain a large amount of sugar. However, sometimes, even more, is added to make them taste sweeter.
“Juices offer some vitamins and other nutrients, but I think the harmful effects of excess sugar largely outweigh those benefits,” reports Bremer.
Over time, excess sweeteners can negatively affect your health. “Several studies have found a direct relationship between excess sugar consumption and obesity and cardiovascular problems around the world,” says Bremer.