Sugar Myths

Hyperactivity

How often have you blamed a child’s misbehavior on sugar? It’s a common practice. But sugar plays little to no part in a child’s behavior. Several medical studies have found no significant link between sugar intake and hyperactivity.

WebMD: Busting the Sugar-Hyperactivity Myth
Dr. Oz: Six Common Medical Myths
Yale Scientific Magazine: Does Sugar Really Make Children Hyper?

If you feel your child is exhibiting signs of hyperactivity, please consult your physician.
 

Obesity

With only 15 calories per teaspoon, sugar is no more fattening than any other 15 calories. You gain weight by taking in more calories than your body burns for fuel. Carbohydrates (like sugar) and protein supply 4 calories per gram, whereas fats deliver more than twice that—9 calories per gram. Also, carbs and protein are converted immediately into the fuels a body needs, while fats are initially stored in fat cells for later use. Effective weight management depends on the combination of responsible eating and appropriate physical activity.

Source: Sugar Association

 

Diabetes

Sugar by itself does not cause diabetes. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes evolve from a disruption of the body’s ability to convert blood glucose (commonly referred to as blood sugar) into energy. Starches and sugars – whether originating from foods like potatoes, carrots, corn, strawberries and watermelon, or from the sugar bowl, are first metabolized to glucose to meet basic energy needs.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain.

Source: American Diabetes Association

 

Glycemic Index

Sugar has a moderate glycemic index (GI). By comparison, wheat bread and brown rice have similar glycemic indexes. The popular belief that sugar should be avoided because it’s perceived to have a high glycemic index misleads diabetics and non-diabetics alike.

The body must convert the starches and sugars in foods into blood glucose to meet basic energy needs. Glycemic index is the term coined by scientists to describe how fast the body breaks down starches and sugars after a particular food or beverage is consumed.

Both the U.S. Institute of Medicine and the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans reject the concept of glycemic index as a useful measure of diet quality.

Blood glucose levels depend not only on how much and what types of carbohydrates are eaten, but also on how much fat or protein is eaten with the carbohydrates.

Source: Sugar Association
 

Cavities

Bacteria in the mouth break down all carbohydrates – both starches and sugars. This normal process forms acids that can leach minerals from tooth enamel. Sticky snacks like raisins and other dried fruits, and starchy foods like breadsticks, cereals and potato chips, linger on teeth and prolong acid production even more than most candies. Infants and toddlers napping with a bottle of juice are also at increased risk of cavities.

Dentists advise reducing between-meal snacks and limiting sweet or sticky foods to mealtimes. Regular brushing and flossing, using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, and regular dentist visits are the smart foundations for controlling cavities.

Cavities are lessened by a combination of responsible dental care, smart snacking choices – whether sugar, starches, juices, or anything else, and the time of day snacks are eaten.

Source: Sugar Association

 

Refining

 

"Refined” is a misunderstood word, especially when it comes to sugar. Somehow, over the years, refined has taken on the meaning of being overly processed and manipulated. In truth, the definition of refined is “to make pure.” The refining process simply separates natural sucrose from sugar cane without bleaching or chemical manipulation. See our How Sugar is Processed infographic for a visual explanation.

 

Bleaching

After sugar cane has been crushed, the resulting fluid is dried to a light brown crystalline substance. The result is referred to as raw cane sugar or turbinado. Pure cane sugar is raw cane sugar that has been bathed in a natural mineral solution to remove the excess outer covering of the crystal. There is no bleaching involved in the process, only all-natural mineral solutions.

Source: Sugar Association

 

Cancer

Sugar doesn't make cancer grow faster. All cells, including cancer cells, depend on blood sugar (glucose) for energy. But giving more sugar to cancer cells doesn't speed their growth. Likewise, depriving cancer cells of sugar doesn't slow their growth.

This misconception may be based in part on a misunderstanding of positron emission tomography (PET) scans, which use a small amount of radioactive tracer — typically a form of glucose. All tissues in your body absorb some of this tracer, but tissues that are using more energy — including cancer cells — absorb greater amounts. For this reason, some people have concluded that cancer cells grow faster on sugar. But this isn't true.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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