Sugar “demonization”: Is it really bad for your health?

Sugar, also known as “added sugar”, is everywhere in our daily lives, and flavorings (such as sucrose), sweeteners, honey and fruit juices, these sweet honey smaller things are extracted and purified and added to our daily food and beverages, the taste is greatly enhanced. Complex and simple carbohydrates are also made up of sugar molecules that can be dissolved into glucose after digestion, allowing cells to generate energy to keep our smart brains running.

Produced by: Sina Explores the Second Issue of The Good Story of Science

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Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and vegetables, are easier to digest and can quickly release sugars into the blood, such as fructose, lactose, sucrose, glucose, and other sugars found in our daily foods.

It’s hard to imagine that humans once had access to sugar only in the months when the fruit was ripe. About 80,000 years ago, humans occasionally ate fruit to taste the sweetness of sugar, because most fruits were snatched away by birds.

Before the 16th century, only the rich could afford sugar. But with colonial trade, sugar became more and more popular. By the 1960s, the technology to convert glucose into lactose on a large scale was invented, and on that basis, a concentrate of fructose and glucose, a high fructose corn syrup, was invented. Many public health advocates argue that high fructose corn syrup is far more harmful to the human body than any other sugar, and many people think of the word “sugar” when the first thing comes to mind is it.

Today, we can enjoy plenty of sugar at any time of year. These sugars are not really high in value and are very easy to get, just open a can of drink or a box of cereal. The sugar intake of modern people is far less healthy than in ancient times. Sugar has become the number one public enemy threatening public health: the government has started to tax sugar, schools and hospitals are no longer selling sweets through vending machines, and experts have even suggested that sugar be removed from its diet altogether.

More people who eat sugar are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer… But it may not be the fault of eating sugar.

So far, scientists have not been able to prove how much of a health effect sugar has had in addition to its high calories. A study showed that eating more than 150 grams of fructose per day reduced insulin sensitivity, increasing the risk of diseases such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. But the researchers also concluded that this usually occurs when you consume a lot of extra sugar and consume too many calories, and that the health effects are more likely because consuming sugar increases the risk of excess calories, rather than just the sugar itself.

There is also a growing number of people who point out that “demonizing” certain foods is a dangerous practice that can lead to misunderstandings and even refusal to eat foods necessary to sustain life.

Sugar shock

Between 1970 and 1990, consumption of high fructose corn syrup in the United States increased tenfold, much faster than any other food category, in line with the rate of obesity in the United States.

Sugary drinks often use high fructose corn syrup and have been the focus of research on sugar and health. A large analysis has found a link between the amount of sugary drinks consumed and weight. In other words, people don’t eat less of other foods because they drink more soft drinks and consume more energy, possibly because they tend to increase hunger or satiety.

But the researchers concluded that while soft drink intake and sugar additions increased in tandem with obesity, the correlation was too broad.

And not everyone agrees that high fructose corn syrup is the main cause of the “obesity crisis.” Some experts point out that syrup consumption has been declining in several countries around the world over the past decade, but obesity levels have not increased. Obesity and diabetes are also widespread in areas such as Australia and Europe, where high fructose corn syrup is rarely used.

It can be seen that high fructose syrup is not the only sugar problem. Other added sugars, especially fructose, are also associated with a variety of health problems.

First, fructose can be prone to heart disease. When liver cells break down fructose, one of the final products is glycerin triglycerides. This fat accumulates gradually in the liver cells, and if it enters the bloodstream, it accumulates on the arterial walls, forming fat-forming artery blocks.

One study also seemed to support the idea that more than 25 percent of people who consumed less than 10 percent of their daily calories were twice as likely to die of heart disease as those who consumed less than 10 percent of their daily calories. The incidence of type 2 diabetes is also associated with the intake of added sugars. Two large studies in the 1990s found that women who drank more than one bottle of soft drink or juice a day were twice as likely to develop diabetes as women who drank fewer.

Sugar is not a direct cause of disease.

But it also doesn’t prove whether sugar can actually cause heart disease or diabetes, and that diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are mainly caused by excessive calorie intake, of which sugar is only a part of the story.

As long as the energy consumed exceeds the energy consumed, it will result in fat accumulation, insulin resistance and fatty liver, regardless of diet. If someone consumes a lot of energy and eats the calories they should, the body won’t be able to stand up to the amount of fructose or other sugars in their diet.

Athletes, for example, tend to consume more sugar than normal, but have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease because excess fructose intake is metabolized during exercise, increasing their athletic performance.

Overall, evidence that added sugar can directly cause type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity or cancer remains weak. It is true that large sugar intake is often associated with these diseases, but clinical trials have not proven sugar to be a direct cause of the disease.

People still think sugar is addictive, but that may not be the case. A study published in 2017 suggested that mice had a sugar withdrawal reaction, which led to the belief that sugar sepsis had a similar effect on cocaine, such as a high desire for sugar. But the academic community generally believes that the article’s interpretation of the signs is wrong. One criticism is that the mice were severely restricted and were able to consume sugar for only two hours a day. But if mice were allowed to eat sugar at any time, like humans, they wouldn’t have had this addictive reaction.

But other studies have also looked at the effects of sugars on the brain. For example, the researchers analyzed the association between sugary beverage intake and brain health markers. It was found that people who drank soft drinks and juice tended to have smaller brain capacity and poorer memory. People who drank two cans a day were two years older on average than those who didn’t drink at all. But because the experiment measured only juice intake and could not determine whether sugar was the only factor affecting brain health, people who regularly drank juice or soft drinks often had other diets or habits that affected brain health, such as little exercise.

A recent study found that sugar can even improve memory and physical function in older people. The researchers first asked some of the subjects to drink a drink containing a small amount of glucose, and then asked them to perform a variety of memory tasks. Other subjects drank drinks containing artificial sweeteners as a control group. The researchers assessed the participants’ level of participation, memory scores, and perception of their subjective feelings. The results showed that sugar intake could better motivate older people to do their best to get the job done without feeling like they were taking more pain. Higher blood sugar levels also made them feel happier during the mission.

“Demonizing” sugar is not desirable

While current guidelines recommend that added sugars should not provide more than 5% of the total caloriein seating per day, nutritionists point out that a truly healthy, balanced diet is different for everyone.

Athletes need to consume more sugar during high-intensity training because it is easily digested. But they also worry that their sugar intake exceeds the guidelines. For the average person for us, adding sugar is not really an essential ingredient in a healthy diet. But some experts warn that we should not treat them as poisons and avoid them.

We shouldn’t label food “good” or “bad”, which is not healthy. Turning sugar into a taboo only increases its allure. Once you’re told you not to eat something, you’ll want to eat it in particular, so I’ll never say that a food is overdone, i’ll just say that one food has no nutritional value, but even then, they have other value.

Allen, an associate professor at James Madison University in the United States, has been studying the relationship between religion and science. The reason we see sugar as evil, he argues, is simple: humans in history have always demonized the things that are most difficult to resist. Now, we demonize sugar in the hope of cultivating our self-control in the face of desire.

Sugar brings a great sense of pleasure, so we have to think of it as a strong sin. When we look at things in a way that is e. That’s the way we treat sugar.

Looking at things in such an extreme way can make us anxious about our diet and think about what we should eat every day. Eliminating sugar intake may even be counterproductive, as you may replace sugar with more calorie foods, such as fat.

In addition, when discussing sugar, we tend to mix foods and beverages (such as soft drinks) that contain added sugar but lack other essential nutrients with healthy foods that contain sugar (such as fruit). The difference between the two has left Tina Grundin, a 28-year-old Swede, scratching his head. At one point, she thought all sugar was unhealthy, so she adopted a high-protein, high-fat vegetarian diet that led to an eating disorder.

“When I started vomiting after eating, I knew I couldn’t go on like this. I grew up and didn’t dare eat all the forms of sugar. But then I realized that added sugar was different from sugar in the form of carbohydrates, so I started adopting a high fructose, high starch diet, taking natural sugars from fruits, vegetables, starches and legumes. “From the first day I started eating like this, it was like the clouds were clear. I finally provided enough fuel for the cells, which came from glucose, from carbohydrates, from sugar. “

While it’s not clear how different types of sugars affect health, the irony is that we’d better think less about it. We always overcomplicate the nutritional problem because, in the end, everyone wants to feel fuller, more perfect, more successful, but it doesn’t actually exist.