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.*
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.
Sugar 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.
In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, the hormone required for transforming the glucose fuel into energy. In Type 2 diabetes, the body is unable to properly use the insulin it produces. Even today, all the causes of diabetes are not known. Genetic and lifestyle factors play important roles. Managing one’s diet, however, is very important once a person develops diabetes.*
The American Diabetes Association advises diabetics that sugar may be included in their diets provided it’s counted as part of their daily carbohydrate allowance.**
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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.*
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.*
Eating is a sensory and emotional experience that is made up of many factors, such as flavor preferences (salty, sweet, bitter) and even mouth-feel. How a food item feels in your mouth is a major component in food preferences. Some people crave the taste and texture of crusty bread while others like the smooth cold creamy feel of ice cream on their tongue. No matter how much a person likes the taste of sweet foods, it is highly unlikely that a person would rush to the kitchen for a teaspoon of sugar and not many sweethearts would find a heart-shape box filled with just granulated sugar appealing, compared to the rich creamy texture of a chocolate truffle. People like tasty foods, but liking them is not the same as addiction.*
"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.*
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.*
Sugar feeds cells in the body. All cells. Including cancer cells. Cells require glucose to create the energy they need to thrive. They get the glucose from the sugars you ingest – from sugars found in fruits and vegetables to refined sugars found in sweet treats. But providing more sugar to cancer cells would not equal an increase in growth. Conversely, depriving cancer cells of sugar doesn’t equal slower growth.
The misconception that sugar intake can affect cancer cell growth may be based on the misunderstanding of positron emission tomography (PET) scans. These scans use a small amount of radioactive tracer — typically a form of glucose. All tissues in your body absorb some of this tracer, but tissues such as cancer cells absorb greater amounts of the tracer. If the cells absorb more tracer, you may assume – incorrectly – that they also absorb more sugar.*