Do you like sugar or sweets, who wouldn’t?
The Crusade chronicler William of Tyre in the late 12th century, described sugar as “very necessary for the use and health of mankind”.
Sugar is effective in wound cleaning. In 2013 Murandu et al. concluded in their research that sugar is an antibiotic and when granulated-sugar is poured directly into bed sores, leg ulcers and amputations, it promotes healing.
To live we need:
- Carbohydrates (45-60%) to fuel our brains. And to give energy to our body (Sugar is a carbohydrate).
- Protein (10-15%)
- Fat (20-35%)
Sugar is needed:
- To make food sweet and yummy
- For bakery products
- To create crispiness in biscuits and
- To preserve food. Reducing sugar in a food product can shorten its shelf life i.e. when a jam has not enough sugar content you need to store it the fridge.
Dr. Francesco Branco, head of nutrition for health and development for the World Health Organization (WHO) announced at a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday morning (March 5, 2014) “Sugar might become the new tobacco in terms of risk.”
He urged the people to lower their calorie intake to 5%.
Raise blood glucose
Starch can raise blood guloce quickly. Eating sugar causes a smaller rise in blood glucose level than eating starchy foods like white bread, white rice or mashed potatoes. Sugar is therefore rated as a medium glycemic index (GI).
According to some experts, dietary fats and oils have over twice the food energy value of sugars. The major risk factor for obesity is excess dietary fat, not carbohydrates or sugar.
Carbohydrates are the preferred energy source for the body. Carbohydrates are oxidised first and leave the more easily accumulated fat as the excess energy source.
“Epidemiological data from a number of countries show that people with higher sugar intakes are less likely to be obese than those with lower sugar intakes.”
Expert committees including the World Health Organization (WHO), concluded that sugar consumption per se does not cause obesity.
Studies on the link between sugars and diabetes are inconclusive and that even excessive amounts of sugar does not increase the risk of diabetes. Sugar is therefore rated as medium glycemic index (GI).
When sugar is added to some foods i.e. breakfast cereals, it can actually lower the GI of the final product.
“A high dietary intake of sugar (in this case, sucrose or disaccharide) can substantially increase the risk of heart and vascular diseases. According to a Swedish study of 4301 people undertaken by Lund University and Malmö University College, sugar was associated with higher levels of bad blood lipids, causing a high level of small and medium low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL).”
However according to some other findings, the carbohydrate is the first choice of the body as a source of energy and is oxidised preferentially. When available carbohydrate has been oxidised then its fats turn. Fat can contribute directly to fat stores.
There are also genetic factors that are involved in the cause of coronary heart diseases and influence both the atherosclerotic and thrombotic processes.
In short, there is no evidence that sucrose plays a causal role in the cause of the coronary heart disease.
Table sugar (sucrose) labelled as “empty calories” might be true but it does not replace other nutrients in diet studies claim. Just because sucrose is an empty calorie it does not make people deficient of vitamins and mineral.
“Sugar high” in children
There was a belief that sugar is correlated with anti social behaviour. But there was no scientific evidence. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) some experts found sugar consumption generally has a calming effect on children, and may actually improve memory and sleep patterns as well as appetite control.
Sugar (complex carbohydrate) consumption is associated with a lower rate of dental caries. The impact of carbohydrates on caries is dependent of what kind of food you eat and the kind of oral hygiene performed, availability of fluoride, salivary function and genetic factors.
There is no conclusive evidence indicating that the sweetness of sugar contributes to increased appetite.
According to the American Heart Association women should consume less than 100 calories of added sugar per day (about 6 teaspoons) and men should consume less than 150 per day (about 9 teaspoons).
A canned of pop has about 10 teaspoons of sugar.
There are many experts that found inconsistencies in the findings about sugars’ affect on health. It is said that most of the results of sugar linking to different diseases were rejected.
But, whether there is a link of sugar to the disease or not, we should take proper precautions and listen to our bodies. Consume sugar in moderation. Take responsibility with your own health.