Sugar & Health
Over the years a great deal of scientific research has been undertaken to investigate the role of sugar in the diet and the effects of sugar intake on health. Although some studies have resulted in claims of a link between sugar consumption and certain diseases, conclusive evidence of this is lacking. The USA Food and Drug Administration commissioned a special Task Force Study on the role of sugars in health and the conclusion was that "other than their contribution to dental caries, sugars are not hazardous to the general public".
Admittedly, sugar, along with most other foods, can be consumed to excess. However, provided it is eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet, it will not have any harmful effects on health.
Obesity is a complex disorder with many factors involved in its development. These include genetic, socio-economic and psychological factors, exercise and of course diet.
The basic cause of weight increase and obesity is taking in more energy (kilojoules, from food) than one is using for daily energy needs. Whether these extra kilojoules come from protein, carbohydrate or fat is not important-although recent studies have shown that it is easier to get fat from eating too much fat than it is from eating too much carbohydrate.
To lose weight, it is best to follow a balanced diet, cutting down on portion sizes (especially fatty foods) and to exercise regularly.
There is no evidence to show that coronary heart disease is caused by sucrose consumption. The main risk factors are thought to be smoking, hypertension (high blood pressure) and the level or serum lipids (blood fats) in the blood.
This disease is not caused by an excess of sugar in the diet. Diabetes is a complex metabolic disorder where the body is unable to stabilize its blood glucose level-caused by the failure of the pancreas to produce the correct amount of insulin, or of the tissues to react to the produced insulin - not by eating too much sugar. Because diabetics are unable to absorb carbohydrates in the normal way, they have to follow a special diet and should not eat sugar.
True Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) is a rare condition that is frequently mis-diagnosed. There is no evidence that it is caused by the over-consumption of sugar. Neither is there any conclusive evidence that sugar consumption causes behavioural changes in children or adults.
Under certain conditions, sugars and other forms of fermentable carbohydrates, e.g. fruits and starches, increase the risk of dental caries (cavities). Tooth decay depends on a number of factors including oral hygiene, dietary habits and heredity.
There are four ways to reduce tooth decay:
- Clean teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste.
- Use dental floss regularly to remove the plaque on the surface of the tooth.
- Increase the fluoride in the water supply.
- Cut down on the consumption of sticky snacks between meals and especially after brushing your teeth before going to sleep.
Sugar is sometimes thought to be the cause of bile a condition where one feels bilious, tired and generally not well. Bile is a substance, stored in the gall bladder, which is necessary for the absorption of fats. Sugar does not stimulate the production of bile.
There is no evidence that sugar causes skin disorders. Even acne, so long thought to be caused by eating the wrong foods, has not been shown to be related to diet. For a healthy skin, eat a balanced diet and keep your skin clean. Persistent problems should be referred to a doctor.