Contributed by: Rachana Arya
In the third article of our series covering all you need to know about dietary myths, we will focus on a few foods that we are told can harm us. Sugar tops the list among the items that are said to be harmful to our health, and is referred to as the “white evil.”
Let’s take a look at some typical misunderstandings around sugar ingestion and the truth behind each one.
Myth #1: Eating too much sugar is the main cause of diabetes
Sugar doesn’t cause diabetes. While this may appear to be the fact, it is not. Diabetes is a chronic lifestyle condition that can be caused by a variety of circumstances. Although both types of diabetes are caused by a combination of hereditary and environmental factors, a sugary diet cannot cause it directly (alone). The body’s inability to make and utilize insulin, a sedentary lifestyle, bad eating habits, and genetics all play a role in the disease’s progression.
Myth #2: Sugar causes behavioral problems
Sugar can affect health while still not negatively affecting behavior. Sugar can be considered “dangerous” in many ways, but the behavior is certainly not one. According to experts, the belief that sugar promotes hyperactivity in children is by far the most prominent example of how people believe food can alter behavior, particularly in young children. According to several types of research, this is only one of many sugar fallacies, and any such claims are not substantiated. Despite years of debate and investigation, no large studies have been able to prove a link between diet and behavior. There hasn’t been any substantial scientific evidence that proves that eating sugary foods has a long-term negative influence on a child’s or adult’s behavior. To think that food is the cause of behavioral problems is completely unrealistic.
Myth #3: Sugar is addictive
There is no conclusive evidence that supports that sugar can be addictive. Sugar tastes good, and people like to eat food that tastes good. There is no compelling evidence that sugar is linked to a human addiction or withdrawal process. Sugar increases dopamine levels, sugar consumption is more pleasurable. It’s the same chemical reaction that happens in your brain when you’re doing something enjoyable. This pleasure is not the same as the addiction that is frequently discussed.
Myth #4: Sugar-sweetened foods elevate mood
The concept of a “sugar rush,” or a burst of energy after consuming sugar, is fiction. The idea that sugar can raise your spirits is one of the funniest myths about sugar out there. There are a variety of sweet foods that are said to improve mood, ranging from chocolate to sugary drinks. They’re frequently thought of as a simple way to deal with depression and stress. Contrary to the popular belief, sugar may have the opposite impact over time. According to a study, eating a sugar-loaded diet increases the risk of mood disorders in both men and women. Sugar ingestion can actually increase tiredness and lowers alertness within an hour after its consumption.
Myth #5: You should switch to brown sugar instead of white
Although brown sugar has a few more minerals than white sugar, it has no health benefits. There is a popular misconception that there are multiple forms of sugar, but this is a fallacy. Sugar has the same effect on your body regardless of its type. Brown sugar, white sugar, honey… they’re all broken down into the same thing at the end of the day: glucose. Sugar, in whatever form, is a carbohydrate that can be converted to glucose. White sugar and brown sugar are nutritionally and calorie-wise similar. The main variation is in the flavor, color, and process that both of these products go through. It does not imply that they are different or that one is superior to the other in terms of health.
The bottom line is that consuming sugar in some forms and in large amounts can relate to health problems. So, limiting the amount of sugar that you eat certainly isn’t harmful as long as your nutritional needs are being met. That said, it is also important to note that cutting sugar from our diet may be easier said than done. Because fruit, potatoes, and other starchy foods have high glycemic indexes, you’d have to eliminate them altogether before your sugar intake was reduced to zero.
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