Top 8 Sugar Myths You Need To Stop Believing
By Kat Gal
It seems like every month there is new – and often conflicting – information that comes out related to health and dieting.
As a result of confusing education, the increase of artificial and processed foods and the general lack of exercise throughout the country, obesity rates are rising as never before. In fact, obesity has doubled since 1980; in 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight – over 600 million of those adults were obese. Inflammatory and other lifestyle diseases are also on the rise.
But are you totally at blame for your expanding waistline and increasing pains and illnesses? Or are you subjected to misinformation, misdirection, false advertising, confusing health advice and addictions?
Well, with all the information out there, I don’t blame you if you are unsure about what’s good or bad for you, what to eat in moderation and what to avoid completely.
In the past, humans were in the habit of trusting their bodies and intuitions and they did fine. Nowadays, however, you are guided by your food addictions and the constantly changing advertisements. Your brain must be going crazy trying to figure out what’s right!
One health fact that you can always be sure of though is that sugar is bad for you. Lately, the stuff has been everywhere – milks, cereals, “health” drinks, protein bars, juices, you name it! Sugar hides in so many places that you wouldn’t even think to look (therefore standing as one of the ultimate hide-and-seek champions among toxic food). Sugar is the new blame, that’s for sure.
But do you need to remove sugar completely? Are options like raw cane sugar or artificial sweeteners better for you? Is fruit the enemy?
There is so much confusion and so many myths out there regarding this common additive, that it is better to just clear the air once and for all.
Here are the top 8 myths about sugar you need to stop believing:
1. Sugar Must Be Sweet
When you think of sugar, it is probably things like candy, ice cream, donuts and pancakes that come to your mind. You may think that if you stay away from the likes of these foods, you are fine. The truth is though that all carbohydrates turn into sugar during digestion, including pasta and bread – not to mention that many savory dishes (burgers, fries, pizza, etc.) have a lot of sugar in them. There are hidden sugars in non-sweet and fat-free items even, including salad-dressings, sauces and soups.
2. Artificial Sweeteners Are Better for You
You may think that sugar substitutes are a good way to cut back on calories and stay healthy. I hate to break this to you, but that is far from the truth. Artificial sweeteners can actually raise your blood sugar levels and even change your gut bacteria content. This can lead to high blood sugar, obesity, depression, inflammatory diseases and low vitamin absorption.
3. Sugar Will Fuel Your Body for Energy
Yes, sugar can give your body some energy. However, this energy will not last long. Though it may get you on an energy high for a small while, you will inevitably experience a “sugar crash.” If you start your day with a sugary cereal and have a sweet donut for lunch, by the afternoon, you will surely be depleted of energy, possibly finding yourself conking out at your desk at work or wanting nothing more than to curl up for a long nap that will only make you groggy later on.
Consuming sugar from whole grains is a better choice as it can be digested more slowly that way. Eating whole foods high in fiber – like vegetables, fruits, beans and grains – will keep you healthier and satisfied for longer.ReNuWell
4. Sugar Isn’t Addictive
If you are a savory kind of person or even someone who simply “just likes sweet stuff,” it may be hard to believe that you can actually be addicted to sugar. But you really can be – and chances are you already are. Quitting or even limiting sugar is more than just about willpower – sugar is an addictive substance. It can cause withdrawals when not consumed as you are used to. Withdrawals won’t last forever, though. Soon enough, your body will begin craving the things it actually needs.
Quitting processed sugar will certainly change your life for the better. If you need some ideas on how you can work on cutting it, take a look here.
5. Eating Fruit Is Bad For You
It is true that fruit comes with a fair amount of sugar, but the sugar in fruits is a natural, non-processed type. Fruits come with several amazing benefits that you shouldn’t go without – they are full of vitamins and minerals that keep your body healthy, the water content of fruit will keep you hydrated and full for longer, they are a great source of fiber that will keep your digestive system strong and satisfied for longer, they have low energy-density and the list goes on and on. It is practically impossible to overeat on fruits, so be sure to keep them in your diet.
6. Organic Sugar Is Better for You
One of the biggest myths out there is that natural and pure cane sugar or raw brown sugar is better for you than white sugar or high fructose corn syrup. But here’s the kicker – your body doesn’t realize what sugar is made out of. It is literally unable to tell the difference – so it reacts the same. That juice with cane sugar that you thought was awesome because it didn’t have white sugar? According to your body, you may as well be drinking the juice with white sugar.
The exception to this is fruit, which – due to its high fiber content – your body can absorb better along with its fiber, minerals and vitamins.
7. Sugar-Free Diets Are The Answer
With all the bad talk about sugar, you may be tempted to look for only sugar-free products. However, many sugar-free products include agave, honey or even high fructose corn-syrup instead of regular white sugar. Always read your labels and choose foods with the least amount of added sugar as possible. Better yet, buy real, plant-based, unprocessed whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and grains that have no added sugar in them at all.
8. Sugar Is The Enemy
The world spends a lot of time bashing and blaming sugar. But let’s keep things in perspective – if you are eating a healthy whole foods diet year around, but eat a slice of cake on your birthday, you will not die. Just don’t eat cake every day! Your body does need sugar to survive. To keep as healthy and safe as possible, simply stick to sugar from fruits and 100% whole grains full of fibers, vitamins and minerals and you will be just fine.
How To Eat Healthy Then?
When it comes to diet – including sugar consumption – your body knows what’s best for it. Knowing what your body needs may take some practice, but you will get the hang of it. Do your homework. Pay attention to your body. Make sure that you are making food decisions for yourself and not for the whims of others. As Michael Pollan said, “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.” A short, simple statement that rings truth. Eat your fruits, eat your veggies, make smart choices and you will be just fine. Don’t make this harder than it has to be, friend. You got this!
Do you have any further tips that help you keep on track with your diet? Feel free to share with us below!
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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