Posted by Dayne Hudson in Health / Nutrition
Estimated reading time: 6mins
No! Consuming sugar doesn't turn on some invisible tap to fat accumulation. Just ask scientists, who have disproved this bogus "an insulin spike results in fat gains" countless times:
And these are studies into carbohydrates, which is broken down into glucose. So as a last-ditch effort to save face, sugar haters (who haven't done their research) will turn around and say: "Yeah, but sugar is worse because it contains fructose."
Really? Sugar is made up of one glucose molecule, and one fructose molecule (it's called sucrose or "table sugar" as a result). And because sugar contains fructose, many have fallen for the fallacy that it is somehow evil and makes you hungrier. The truth is:
So, if the science is so clear, where do people get this notion that sugar is bad? That fructose is evil?
It also stems from epidemiological studies, which is the study of patterns. Scientists notice that those who drink lots of soft drinks are also very fat. And this is not surprising; people who drink lots of soft drinks also consume more calories than they burn from highly processed foods and don't exercise. So, the scientists (innocently) simply report that "sugar is linked to obesity", and suggest more research is needed for definitive results.
But then the media gets hold of it, and its game over. "Sugar linked to obesity" becomes "sugar makes us fat."
Then we get the overnight nutrition experts who sell us food products, books, and health plans capitalising on media hysteria. Marketing departments take note en masse. And then, it's showtime! The myth is born, people profit, and it's all accepted as gospel.
But quietly, real scientists are doing the detailed work that isn't as popular for media headlines. They're quietly publishing reviews like this one in 2014, that noted:
"Based on a thorough review of the literature, we demonstrate that fructose, as commonly consumed in mixed carbohydrate sources, does not exert specific metabolic effects that can account for an increase in body weight."
It's why when scientists put two groups of subjects on a diet containing 4% of their calories from sugar or 43%, the fat loss results are the same.
Read that sentence again!
That's 11 grams of sugar versus 118 grams. And no difference in fat loss.
Of course, health isn't just about fat loss. It's important we get enough micronutrients in our diet for optimal health. So, it begs the question, how much sugar is ok?
Well, scientists say 20% of calories from sugar is a good amount, as that won't detract from a healthy amount of micronutrients. 20% is a large number for something that is apparently terrible for you!
Moreover, a recent report by the Institute of Medicine suggests the upper limit of sugar in the daily diet can be 25%.
So, what's this in real-life terms?
Let's say Bulk Nutrients customer "Thomas" has a weight loss diet set to the following:
Thomas would take 1950 calories and work out 25%, which is 487.5 calories. He would then divide this calorie amount by 4 to get the number of carbohydrates he could eat in grams: 121 grams. So, 121 grams can be consumed from sugar in his diet.
Now obviously, this is the upper limit; Thomas doesn't have to eat all of this. But if a few days of the week he wants to consume some sugar treats within his macronutrient allowance, and he's getting enough fibre and micronutrients, then he shouldn't have any issues according to the research and subsequent recommendations.
It boils down to this:
Sugar is not GOOD or BAD for you, it's simply indifferent. It all comes down to the context in which it's consumed.
If you're consuming 20-25% of your calories from sugar daily, whilst getting enough fibre and micronutrients, then "sugar" is not going to bring about ill-health or make you fat; the science is very clear!