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Sugar Myths

Мифы о сахаре

Sazar is the household name for sucrose (C12H22O11). Cane and beet sugar (granulated sugar, refined sugar) is an important food product. Normal sugar (sucrose) refers to carbohydrates, which are considered valuable nutrients that provide the body with the necessary energy. Starch also belongs to carbohydrates, but its absorption by the body is relatively slow. Sucrose, on the other hand, is rapidly broken down in the digestive tract into glucose and fructose, which then enter the bloodstream.

Glucose provides more than half of the body's energy costs. The normal concentration of glucose in the blood is maintained at 80-120 milligrams of sugar per 100 milliliters (0.08 ~ 0.12%). Glucose has the ability to support the barrier function of the liver against toxic substances due to its participation in the formation of so-called paired sulfuric and glucuronic acids in the liver. That is why ingestion of sugar or the introduction of glucose into a vein is recommended for some liver diseases, poisoning.

Sugar is blamed on almost everything - from diabetes and obesity to diseases of the heart and blood vessels, kidneys and other organs, and even strokes. But is it really that bad? Do these tiny, sweet crystals bear nothing but harm? Or maybe a lot of what we hear about sugar is just misinformation? Let's deal with some incomprehensible questions about our favorite sugar.

1. People can easily limit the amount of sugar consumed.

Well, we decided to eat less sugar. No problems. We just stop eating desserts, and we will give up donuts, which we offer colleagues.

But hey ... Why is it so difficult? Are we children who have no willpower?

The fact is that sugar is an addictive substance. Animal studies show that sugar contributes to overeating, is addictive and increases appetite. In addition, regular use of sugar helps to easily get used to other substances.

When they began to study people who consume fructose (a form of sugar), it turned out that the center of remuneration in their brain at that moment is glowing. But as in the case of narcotic substances, the subjects over time were forced to consume more and more sugar so that the reward center in their brain shone as brightly as at the very beginning of the experiment.

Another study shows that the sweetness of sugar can be much more attractive than the effect of common drugs such as cocaine. This seems a bit ridiculous, but a possible explanation for this, scientists say, is that a person in the past had an evolutionary need to eat high-calorie foods and sugar.

2. Added sugar is bad

In 2014, the American Association of Cardiologists recommended Americans to reduce their sugar intake from 20 teaspoons (80 grams) per day to 6 spoons (24 grams) for women, and to nine spoons (36 grams) for men.

And especially the research team was worried about the so-called “added sugar”. Added sugar is part of our food at the stage of its preparation. It may be part of a chemically prepared food and drink (such as high fructose corn syrup, for example), or it may be a natural substance such as honey. Experts are concerned that the sugar in such products has no nutritional value, and it gives only one thing - an excess of calories.

However, you should not completely remove all the added sugar from your diet. Yes, sugar may not have nutritional value, but it can improve the taste of other foods that contain nutrients, such as yogurt or whole-grain cereals.

So if you can't bring yourself to eat a cup of healthy yogurt without adding a pinch of sugar, then sugar should be added. Fortunately, in most cases you need to add quite a bit of sugar to get a satisfactory taste. That is why it is better to buy products without added sugar, and add sugar to them yourself, than to buy products already sweetened by the manufacturer.

3. Artificial sweeteners are more beneficial than sugar.

Many people who care about their health prefer artificial sweeteners to sugar, sincerely believing that this is the best option because such sweeteners do not contain calories.

Yes, you really consume fewer calories, replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners, only you can hardly call them healthy foods.

The nutrient control commission believes that artificial sweeteners are safe. At the same time, experts say that the long-term effects of sweeteners have not yet been studied.

In addition, there are many studies, the results of which cast doubt on the benefits of sweeteners. For example, researchers at Yale University found that if you eat artificially sweetened foods that are low in calories, this may cause you to later want to eat foods that are high in calories. This can happen on the same day, and the effect is especially strong if you ate artificially sweetened foods when you were very hungry or very tired.

Artificial sweeteners do not signal the brain that the body receives energy in the same way that ordinary sugar does.

In addition, many people who use artificial sweeteners consciously eat a little more during the day. Because they feel they can afford it. After all, in the end, they did not get the extra calories, throwing sweetener into their coffee, so now you can eat an extra portion of potatoes or a hamburger.

So it may turn out that there is more useful to eat regular sugar, without replacing it with sweeteners

4. Organic raw sugar is more useful than refined sugar

Raw sugar looks very attractive, it has a light caramel color, and in shape it resembles a nugget. This organic sweetener, which is less perfect than refined sugar, is found in many healthy products, so it probably should be good for us.

In fact, it is not. Both raw and refined sugar is obtained from sugar cane, although it can also be obtained from sugar beet.

Raw sugar is obtained when the sugar cane juice is boiled only once. As a result, a certain amount of molasses remains in the product, due to which its golden color appears. Refined sugar is the result of repeated boiling of sugar cane juice. Boiling removes all impurities from it, and its color will therefore be white.

Some supporters of raw sugar claim that the molasses left in it contains valuable nutrients that our body can use. But most experts believe that these are only nutrient residues, and their quantity in raw is so small that it simply cannot have a significant impact on our health. So although the above two varieties of sugar are processed differently, they are almost identical in composition.

5. Sugar-free diets are the healthiest.

So, we eat too much sugar. At the same time, both artificial sweeteners and raw sugar turn out to be no better than the good old refined sugar.

So maybe the answer is extremely simple, and you just need to remove all the sugar from the diet? Maybe. That is very difficult to do.

Technically, to eliminate all the sugar from the diet, you need to eat only such food, in which sugar is not added either during its preparation, or after that. But if your so-called “sugar-free diet” simply means eating foods marked “sugar-free”, then nothing good will come of it.

Products whose labels publicly state that they are “sugar-free” are usually not. Because although the sugar was removed from there, it was replaced with an artificial sweetener. It can be anything: sugar alcohols, sorbitol, mannitol, or some other low-calorie sweetener, for example, saccharin or sucralose.

Unfortunately, many of these alternative sweeteners still contain an enormous amount of carbohydrates and / or calories. And the same sugar alcohols, if taken in large quantities, can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. Experts believe that the most sensible strategy is to eat unprocessed foods, adding as little sugar as possible to them.

6. Do not eat too much sweet fruit.

It makes no sense to deny: fruits contain sugar. Many of them. Think about how you bite a fresh, juicy peach or pear. Think of a sweet juice and an explosion of taste in your mouth. Is it bad for you?

Not. Indeed, fruits contain a lot of sugar. But it is natural sugar, it is fructose, which is much more useful than refined sugar. Plus, fructose is not the only thing found in peach or pear. In addition to fructose, fruits contain fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients that will be very good for your body, help the body fight diseases, stabilize blood sugar levels, and much more.

In addition, fruits are considered food with a low density, and therefore, eating them, you will quickly feel satiety. And this is good, because if you are full, you will not eat too much fruit, plus you will not be tempted to switch to something else that is not so healthy (for chocolate cookies, for example). So eat fruit and don't worry about anything.

7. Sugar causes tooth decay.

Did your dentist tell you in your childhood that sugar breaks teeth? He was right, but only in part. If your teeth come in contact with sugary foods and sugary drinks, this can lead to their destruction. But this will happen only if all these sweet substances will be on the surface of the teeth for a long time. In addition, the long-term effects of other products, such as fruit, bread or oatmeal, can lead to tooth decay.

Even healthy vegetables can destroy teeth, and here's why.

To caries leads a substance called plaque. It begins to form on the teeth at the moment when you eat or drink something. If you do not get rid of plaque, it will eventually destroy the enamel on the teeth, and create tiny holes in it, under which cavities will then arise. So the best way to prevent tooth decay is to brush your teeth after eating. Even ordinary water rinsing can be helpful. And if you ate foods that can easily get stuck in your teeth, such as raisins, popcorn or raspberries, then careful cleaning of the teeth with a brush and floss followed by rinsing is simply necessary.

8. Sugar causes hyperactivity

Who from parents did not hear that if their baby eats too much sugar, then from this he can become too wound up and hyperactive?

And this often seems true. Just see how children on someone's birthday eat a cake, sweets and wash them down with cola, and then a wild squeal and running around begins.

But have you thought about the fact that it is possible that the fact of the holiday, and not sugar, affected them so much?

There are lots of extensive studies of the relationship between sugar level and hyperactivity, and not one of them has not revealed this connection. Most recently, a group of experts analyzed several reputable studies, and concluded that sugar in the diet of children does not affect their behavior.

Interestingly, another study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, which surveyed mothers who believed that their children were "sensitive to sugar." Mothers were asked to evaluate the behavior of their children after they drank soda. The mothers of boys drinking soda and sugar believed their sons were more active than boys drinking soda with an artificial sweetener. The catch was that all children were given soda water with an artificial sweetener, which means that the basis for "hyperactivity" is more human perception than sugar.

9. Sugar leads to obesity.

Many people believe that sugar is inextricably linked with obesity: sweets, cakes, ice cream, etc. If you are fat, you think, it is because you eat too many sweet desserts.

At the same time, people who understand nutrition a little better often warn against eating too much starchy foods (potatoes, rice, and other cereals), because your body converts starch into sugar, which leads to extra pounds.

The problem is that it is not.

If this were the case, then people who eat a lot of rice (for example, Japanese) and people who eat a lot of pasta (for example, Italians) would be the fattest people in the world. But you know what? They are one of the most slender.

And the thing is this. If you eat a lot of sugary foods, such as cakes and cookies, and wash it down with carbonated drinks and juices, you will gain weight. But this is because you are consuming too many calories, and not because you are only full of sugar. And if the total amount of calories you absorb is within the normal range, sugar will never create fat rolls on your sides, and will not turn your stomach into a kind of jelly.

10. Sugar causes diabetes

The most common sugar myth is that sugar causes diabetes. Most likely, the reason for this misconception is that diabetic blood sugar levels are far from normal, because they are forced to carefully monitor sugar consumption. In general, there is no connection between sugar consumption and the development of diabetes. There is only one exception, which will be discussed below.

There are three main types of diabetes!

Type 1 diabetes develops when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that extracts sugar from the food we eat and allows it to enter our tissues, where the body uses sugar as an energy source. If the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or insulin does not work properly, diabetes occurs.

Type 2 diabetes. It usually occurs in people who are overweight, people leading a sedentary lifestyle and sitting on a high-calorie diet, and the source of these calories can be anything, not just sweets.

And some pregnant women may experience gestational diabetes. It occurs when hormonal changes during pregnancy disrupt insulin production.

So what's up with the above exception to the general rule about the relationship of diabetes and sugar?

People who regularly consume large amounts of sugary drinks (soda, sweetened with sugar, fruit drinks, etc.) may well make themselves type 2 diabetes. Of course, many people who greedily absorb sugary drinks are also overweight and eat a lot, and all this can also cause type 2 diabetes. However, research shows that the probability of getting diabetes is high for those who just drink a lot of sugary drinks, but at the same time actively move and eat healthy foods.

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