Is Sugar Really That Bad?

So, there's a massive stigma when it comes to sugar being harmful to health. Sure, we know it can cause diseases if consumed at a high level and with sugar tax making its way into the UK, it could be beneficial for us all. 

(Image credit: ICE Cook School) 

The basics 

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate which is digested at a fast rate and causes a spike in blood glucose when consumed alone. Sugar shouldn't be feared, and it's as simple as that. Anything is dangerous; you could technically drink too much water and die (extreme, we know). We're quickly swayed into thinking things are healthier because they don't contain pure sugar. However, honey, fruits and other syrups contain high amounts of sugar so don't be brainwashed! 

However, we do need to pay attention to how much sugar is in our diet. We eat too much because it tastes good. Evolutionary means we seek out foods naturally high in sugars because energy and high sugar foods are cheaper. But sugar isn't toxic. 

Calorie consumption 

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If we overeat sugar, it means we're consuming extra calories which suggest that weight gain will occur. If a diet consists of foods which are rich in sugar but you're under consuming on calories, then you will still lose weight, but the consequence is that you're malnourished. This again leads to health problems. 

Now, there's something called 'free sugars'. These include table sugar, golden syrup, treacle, agave syrup, coconut blossom syrup, unsweetened fruit juice and honey. These are sugars added by the manufacturer plus sugars which are present in honey etc. On the other hand, there are sugars we don't count as 'free'. These include lactose in milk and dairy products, natural sugars in fruit, vegetables and cereals or grains. The average adult eats 2000 calories a day which means that your intake of calories from free sugar should be no more than 100 calories a day. 

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The conclusion

If you're an athlete, then sugar is very beneficial because it gives you more energy and can help to build muscle. But, don't stress it. If you want that Gookie Dough tub and have a balanced diet and won't sacrifice other vital nutrients, then indulge and don't feel guilty! 

*Article inspiration from Muscle Food*