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Thursday, 28 July 2016 17:50

Is sugar toxic?

The first step is to define what sugar is. Sugar is a carbohydrate which is found in many of the foods that we eat. Some foods may be healthier such as fruit, vegetables, grains and dairy, whereas there are unhealthier foods such as ice-cream, lollies, chocolate and soft drinks that also contain sugar. In some cases, sugar occurs naturally such as in fruit, and at other times sugar is added, often to enhance flavour, such as in soft drinks.

Sugar is not toxic, at least not in an acute sense. You can’t really ingest enough sugar in one go to cause death. That said, chronically eating too much sugar will eventually negatively affect organs such as the pancreas which is continually forced to produce insulin. This can eventually lead to lifestyle diseases such as diabetes.

Having alcohol every so often and in the right amounts will not have any detrimental effects on our health long-term. In the same way, having sugar every so often will not cause us any long-term harm either.

The key thing is to think about how much and how often you eat sugar. If the majority of the food you eat contains added sugar, then you should consider reducing the amount as a diet that is high in added sugar is either a) causing you to gain weight as you are getting too many nutrients or b) displacing other nutrients that you need to be healthy.

Sugar doesn’t really deserve the negative wrap it has received in the past few years. Try to think of it as a treat that can enhance an experience. A slice of cake at a birthday party or having a dessert with a friend you haven’t caught up with in a while will not cause you any harm as part of a healthy, active lifestyle. These experiences bring enjoyment to our lives.  If you are constantly thinking of having something sugary or highly processed foods, it may be worth thinking of making some changes to your eating.

In a nutshell, added sugars should be eaten in limited amounts but there is no need to cut them out completely. Naturally occurring sugars such as in fruit are okay to have and don't need to be avoided.

Everything is okay to have in moderation (even sugar), remember to eat for enjoyment in conjunction with an active lifestyle!

Read 4152 times Last modified on Monday, 01 August 2016 17:44