4 Sugar Myths It is Time To Cease Believing, Says an RD


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These days, it usually seems like sugar is public enemy quantity one within the well being and wellness world. And whereas we would by no means counsel that sugar itself is a nutrient-dense ingredient—it has been linked to a mess of adverse well being outcomes, in spite of everything—the quantity of concern surrounding it does, by nature, create fairly a little bit of confusion and misinformation. Berries are unhealthy for you as a result of they’re loaded with sugar, proper? However agave is wholesome as a result of it is decrease on the glycemic index than desk sugar, no? And gummy worms made with sugar alcohols are mainly a well being meals?

(Eye roll.)

Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, says that the demonization of sugar (and the numerous sugar myths that come hand-in-hand) is nothing new, however we’re seeing it on a bigger scale at present as a consequence of social media. She explains that because the fat-free food regimen craze swept the ‘90s, firms wanted to search out methods to make their merchandise style higher—as a result of significantly, who desires to eat a fat-free cookie? “In consequence, sugar was usually used instead of butter or oil to dial up the flavour of packaged meals with out tacking on any grams of fats,” Cassetty says. “Sadly, after 5 to 10 years of low-fat every little thing and elevated sugar consumption, analysis started to indicate that one of these consuming sample can result in a bounty of significant well being points.” A few of these adverse well being outcomes, based on Cassetty, embody elevated irritation, excessive triglycerides, low ranges of HDL ldl cholesterol, kind 2 diabetes, and extra.

“Since then, we’ve seen a lot analysis highlighting the truth that the kinds of fats you eat matter and might truly be tremendous nutritious—simply consider how extra-virgin olive oil is admittedly vital on the Mediterranean Weight-reduction plan,” says Cassetty. “We additionally started specializing in all of the sneaky sources of sugar in our diets. In reality, the vitamin info label was just lately up to date to mirror the quantity of added sugars current on meals labels—and swiftly, you may see that there’s added sugar in every little thing. Assume soups, ketchup, breads, and even meals we regularly crown with a well being halo, like oat milk.”

This placement of added sugar content material that took full impact in 2020 despatched a brand new wave of sugar-haters evaluating bananas to donuts and selling low-sugar and low-carb diets. Whereas Cassetty says we have to stick with the U.S. Dietary Pointers that counsel girls devour lower than six teaspoons (25 grams) and males lower than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) a day, it’s vital to develop a well-rounded understanding of sugar to make clever choices about sugar consumption whereas feeling empowered to all the time take pleasure in guilt-free consuming. Keep in mind: An ingredient ought to by no means been thought of “good” or “unhealthy”—it is simply meals. Right here, we requested Cassetty to bust a couple of common sugar myths that can assist you do exactly that.

Fable #1: Fruit accommodates sugar, which implies it ought to actually be consumed sparsely

“I can’t stress sufficient that there’s a great distinction between naturally occurring and added sugars,” says Cassetty. “Sugar in fruit is provided by nature and comes packaged with nutritional vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Then when you consider how eight out 10 People don’t eat sufficient fruit, this fantasy is so unhealthy as a result of so many individuals are lacking out on lots of useful vitamins.”

Cassetty says that every one fruits are scrumptious and nutrient-dense. Her private favourite? “I completely love Zespri Sungold Kiwis. This fruit is scrumptious and candy whereas assembly 100% of your day by day vitamin C requirement in a single serving.” Skincare experts know this vitamin is crucial for collagen manufacturing and glowing pores and skin, and it’s additionally (as we’re well-aware) vital for a robust immune system.

Cassetty additionally says that watermelon will get a nasty rap in some circles of poisonous food regimen tradition due to the place it lies on the glycemic index, however says that it’s 90 p.c water, which contributes to correct hydration required for sustaining good power ranges and focus. “It additionally accommodates a novel compound referred to as L-citrulline, which is linked to diminished muscle soreness post-workout,” Cassetty says. Actually, the record goes on and on for each kind of fruit—sure, even the opposite “higher-sugar” ones like grapes and bananas. “I’m very pro-fruit, and I don’t ever fear about consuming it,” says Cassetty. “I all the time add that carbs are crew gamers, and I really like pairing toasted walnuts with fruit. You get all this vitamin C and fiber from the fruit, plus a couple of grams of protein and fiber, plus magnesium and plant-based ALA omega-3s from the walnuts.”

Fable #2: Synthetic sweeteners are a greater substitute for the actual factor

Since synthetic sweeteners like Splenda and aspartame are comparatively new to the culinary and meals science landscapes, it has taken some time for analysis to catch up. Whereas the vitamin label would possibly make a food regimen soda or a sugar-free packaged dessert seem like the more healthy possibility, Cassetty says she’s not so certain. “I are inclined to keep away from synthetic sweeteners more often than not, together with the issues in pink yellow blue packets which can be usually in food regimen drinks,” she says. “They reduce out added sugar within the second, however over time, research have instructed that they may very well undermine your physique’s insulin response which might result in a better threat of kind 2 diabetes.”

Cassetty says that whereas these drinks have been touted to assist handle blood sugar and general well being, rising analysis is exhibiting that they could do the alternative. She notes that a lot of the analysis being performed is epidemiological, that means that the hyperlinks present correlation as an alternative of causation—and provides that there are such a lot of research pointing in the identical course at this level that the hyperlinks are most likely true. Whereas Cassetty says that for some, choosing one food regimen drink day by day for a interval might be useful when you’re making an attempt to wean off soda and normally devour a number of servings a day, you’re higher off avoiding synthetic sugars utterly. Plus, there’s a lot extra satisfaction to be present in a favourite dessert made with actual sugar, no?

Fable #3: Pure sugars present in meals like honey and maple syrup don’t depend in the direction of your general sugar consumption

This in undoubtedly one of many greatest sugar myths—there’s a entire lot of confusion on the market surrounding pure sweeteners past fruit. Maple syrup, honey, and extra just lately, date syrup, have been touted as “wholesome options” to subtle sugar. Cassetty says that a majority of these sweeteners are what she personally reaches for most frequently when doctoring her morning cup of espresso or giving her oatmeal a lift, as they’re more healthy to a point as a consequence of antioxidant content material and the presence of bioactive substances. Nonetheless, based on Cassetty, these sweeteners nonetheless depend in the direction of your day by day consumption of added sugars and may nonetheless be consumed sparsely.

“I pay extra consideration to the general substances on a meals label over the place the sugar supply is coming from,” says Cassetty. “I’m trying to see that it’s product of principally entire meals and what the added sugars quantity is.” She says an excellent instance of this are That’s It fruit bars. Whereas the sugar content material could look excessive, they’re made with none added sugars and the one ingredient is fruit, so that they’re an excellent possibility for an on-the-go snack that gained’t depend in the direction of your sugar consumption. Nonetheless, a packaged cookie—sure, even when it’s vegan and/or gluten-free—will depend in the direction of your added sugars consumption if there may be the presence of sugar, maple syrup, honey, or another sort of sweetener.

Cassetty additionally mentions that folks usually overlook a few quite common pure sugar: lactose, which is present in all dairy merchandise. (And just like the pure sugar present in fruit, lactose is just not affiliated with the adverse well being outcomes that added sugar is.) She says, nevertheless, that flavored yogurts can additionally be one of many greatest offenders by way of added sugars, so be sure to examine the label for merchandise which can be low in added sugars. Her favourite model is Siggi’s as a result of she says it’s the one mainstream yogurt model she is aware of of that has a variety of choices the place added sugars consumption is managed. There ought to solely be a couple of extra grams on prime of the lactose, so be careful for these labels which have as a lot or extra sugar than a scoop of ice cream.

Fable #4: Consuming something with sugar will ship my blood sugar on a curler coaster

Not true. “Initially, blood sugar responses differ from individual to individual,” says Cassetty. “No matter your private physique’s response, I am going to return to saying once more that carbs are crew gamers. Whether or not it’s oatmeal or a bit of fruit, merely pairing it with different entire meals—notably ones that comprise protein, fats, and/or fiber—is a good technique when you’re making an attempt to handle blood sugar.”

The way to handle your sugar consumption with out getting obsessive

If you have not been notified that try to be involved about your blood sugar by a healthcare skilled however nonetheless assume you might be exceeding the day by day added sugar suggestion most of the time, Cassetty believes in a easy (however customized) method to sugar administration. “My work may be very client-centered, so folks get to resolve for themselves how a lot sugar they need to devour. That being mentioned, extreme sugar consumption may be tied to every little thing from psychological well being situations to abdomen ache,” says Cassetty. “I prefer to counsel a step-down method the place I’ve folks take into consideration the meals they devour essentially the most usually that contribute to extra consumption. These are normally sugary drinks like soda, iced tea, or fancy coffees in addition to desserts, granola bars, cereals, and flavored yogurts.”

From there, Cassetty suggests replacements for a few of these meals, like changing your fruit gummies behavior with a serving of no-sugar-added dried fruit a couple of days per week to offer you that sweetness and texture with out the added sugar or mixing 75 p.c of your favourite sugary cereal with 25 p.c no-sugar-added cereal till you may get to a 50-50 ratio and even decrease. She says your style buds are able to adapting, and taking a step-down method can assist make managing added sugars a a lot much less daunting job.

“Additionally, do not forget that your well being isn’t ever about one factor,” says Cassetty. “It is by no means simply in regards to the sugar. Consuming balanced meals at routine occasions to maintain power and forestall early starvation is crucial, as is listening to your starvation and fullness cues to remain current all through your meal. Additionally, it’s about getting motion, assessing your sleep, and practising stress administration as a result of it’s going to be actually laborious to handle your sugar consumption when you aren’t sleeping effectively or don’t have the instruments to deal with stress.” Speak about phrases to stay by.

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