6 Misconceptions About Sugar Consumption

6 mins read

For centuries, this crystalline sweetener has invaded everyone’s snacks, drinks, instincts and minds. As a result, over time, some hearsay has started to circulate. In this article, let’s verify some of the misconceptions about sugar consumption.

1- Sugar is Addictive

Some people believe that sugar is an addictive substance. However, there is no scientific evidence that sugar is addictive. However, sugar consumption is known to have psychological effects. Sugar is one of the few foods that triggers dopamine.

6 Misconceptions About Sugar Consumption 1

If you consume large amounts of sugary foods, your dopamine levels resist. Therefore, you feel the need to consume more. However, this does not mean that you are addicted to sugar. Although health experts don’t classify sugar as an addictive substance, let’s not forget that this doesn’t make it healthy.

2- Sugar causes hyperactivity.

There is no scientific evidence to support the emergence of this information, which is widely accepted by those with young children. To date, all the studies that have been conducted to find out whether there is a relationship have failed to produce any meaningful results.

The myth of sugar-induced hyperactivity persists because of expectations. When children consume sugar, we expect them to be noisy and boisterous. We therefore interpret their behavior to fit our expectations. Children’s bursts of energy come from the nature of being a child, not from sugar.

3. Sugar Consumption Causes Diabetes.

Another relatively common myth is that sugar directly causes diabetes. However, there is no direct link between the two. The confusion arises perhaps because there is an intrinsic relationship between blood sugar levels and diabetes. But there are still indirect links.

6 Misconceptions About Sugar Consumption 2

Overweight and obesity are risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Consuming high levels of sugar also increases the likelihood of developing overweight or obesity. However, sugar is not the direct cause of type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops due to the lack or absence of the hormone insulin secreted from the pancreas. Diet and lifestyle factors do not play an active role in this type of diabetes.

4- You should not consume fruit to lose weight.

Fruits are delicious because they are partly sweet due to the natural sugars they contain. However, because of this sugary taste, it is believed that we should not consume too much fruit in order to maintain a healthy weight. This is a myth. The sugar in fruit has a fibrous structure. It is also made up of fructose and glucose. Glucose is already an essential nutrient molecule and cells need it.

Fructose, on the other hand, is converted into glucose in our body. However, there are limits to how fast the liver can process fructose. If we overload it, instead of converting it into glucose, it starts converting it into fat, and to continue doing so would be to start gaining weight. In the end, there is no harm in moderate amounts of sugar from natural food sources. As long as they are natural and unprocessed. The same does not apply to ready-made fruit juices, for example.

5- It is best to consume sugar-free foods and drink.

The food and beverage industry has found many innovative ways to incorporate the fear of sugar into the branding of their products. They have invented products such as diet soda and sugar-free biscuits to appeal to the abstaining audience. However, choosing these products is not always healthier. Consumption of sweeteners such as saccharin and sucralose can also cause weight gain.

6. Sugar Causes Cancer.

Despite rumors, most experts do not believe that sugar directly causes cancer or accelerates its spread. Cancer cells divide rapidly, meaning they need a lot of energy, which sugar can provide. This is perhaps the root of the myth. However, all cells need sugar. Cancer cells also need other nutrients such as amino acids and fats to survive.

However, as with diabetes, sugar consumption and cancer have an indirect relationship. Increased sugar intake is linked to weight gain. Overweight and obesity also increase the risk of cancer. So although sugar does not directly cause cancer and its development, the risk increases if we consume high levels of sugar and develop obesity.

Sugar is a much researched topic. Typing “sugar health” into Google Scholar brings up more than 78,000 results from 2020 alone. This amount of content is difficult to navigate and, as with any scientific topic, there is disagreement.

One thing to keep in mind is that many studies investigating the health effects of sugar receive funding from the food industry. While there are a number of misconceptions surrounding sugar, some things are certain. While sugar doesn’t directly cause diabetes or cancer, high levels of sugar consumption are not healthy. Of course, a slice of cake once in a while can’t hurt. But the main principle, as with everything else, is balance.

Ali Esen

Istanbul University, Department of Mathematics. Interested in science and technology.


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