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Facts about Sugar

May 31, 2012

Is sugar addictive?

Can you become addicted to sugar?

Of course, we are born to like sugar.  Children prefer sweet tastes and this in-born sweet tooth may have been an evolutionary advantage by forcing us to seek out ripe fruits, which are sweet and serve as a good source of calories.  In the modern world of supermarkets this innate craving has not disappeared.

Scientists aren’t really sure if people can become physically dependent on sugar, although some animal studies suggest that it is possible.  There are the same kinds of changes in the brain dopamine as drug addicts when animals are given access to sugar and then it is stopped.  

Sugar cravings do exhibit a similar symptom to drug dependence.  People who crave sugary, fatty foods will keep eating them even if obesity makes it uncomfortable to walk or to sit and is leading to other chronic conditions.  

Can sugar worsen cholesterol?

Scientists have found a link between sugar and high levels of certain lipids in the blood.  It looks like there is a relationship between sugar intake and higher levels of triglycerides and lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Eating lots of sugar could triple the odds of having low HDL cholesterol levels which is related to heart disease.

Does sugar cause diabetes?

Eating sugar in itself does not cause diabetesbut research studies have shown an association between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and diabetes, The real issue may be with obesity.  Sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with higher body mass indices and obesity. So sugar and therefore added weight could be risk factors for diabetes.

What about children’s health?

Again is seems that excess weight not sugar per se.

Obesity amongst children is booming and at the same time there has been a major increase in the consumption of simple sugars. 

Other factors like exercise should also be considered.  If your kids are sitting in front of computer games or the television all day that is not going to help.

Are some types of sugar better than others?

In terms of something being inherently better about those sweeteners as opposed to table sugar or sucrose – simple sugars are simple sugars.

A calorie of sugar is a calorie of sugar – it could be from white sugar, brown sugar or honey.  These are essentially “empty calories”.

However, remember that there is one advantage with some of these other types of sugars – they can have a stronger taste or a stronger sensation of sweetness so you can consume less of them and reduce calorie intake.

Sucrose v Fructose

We are eating too much of everything. Over the last three decades, the average American has increased their calorie consumption by 24% and physical activity has declined. People are singling out sugar as the smoking gun in the obesity epidemic and it is difficult to single out one cause.  Eating less of all  sugars is not going to do any harm. 

Fructose and Glucose Study

This research appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.  The study included 32 overweight or men and women whose average age was 50.

Over a 10-week period, the men and women drank either glucose- or fructose-sweetened beverages, totaling 25% of their daily calorie intake, either in an outpatient setting (eight weeks long) or highly controlled inpatient setting (two weeks long).

Both the groups gained weight during the trial, but imaging studies revealed that most of the added fat in the fructose group occurred in the belly, while most of the fat gained by the glucose group was subcutaneous (under the skin).

Belly fat, but not subcutaneous fat, has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Experts still have a long way to go to connect fructose with diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Higher intakes of fructose are associated with these conditions, but clinical trials have yet to show that it causes them. There are plenty of reasons to avoid sugary drinks and foods with added sugar, like empty calories, weight gain, and blood sugar swings.  The key message is try and cut out as much simple sugars from your diet as possible and exercise more.

The Wise Herb Company health drinks contain zero added sugar and are all made from natural ingredients (Herbs & Spices): CALM&RELAX, SLIM&FIT, UP&GO, YOUNG&FUN.  These drinks will help to control sugar intake and help you, in many aspects, to lead a healthy active lifestyle.

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