Sugar Myths

Sugar Myths

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.

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

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

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

"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.

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

It’s true that sugar feeds every cell in our body — even cancer cells. But, research shows that eating sugar doesn’t necessarily lead to cancer. It’s what sugar does to your waistline that can lead to cancer. Taking in too many sugar calories may result in weight gain. And, being overweight or obese puts you at a higher risk for cancer and other diseases.

So, should you avoid sugar? Our expert says no.

“Your body’s cells use sugar to keep your vital organs functioning,” says Clare McKindley, clinical dietitian at MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center. “But too much daily sugar can cause weight gain. And, unhealthy weight gain and a lack of exercise can increase your cancer risks.”

Source: MD Anderson Cancer Center