Sugar – what’s the real harm?

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Sugar – what’s the real harm?

We’ve swung from a culture that demonises fat, to one where sugar is lined up in the targets as the next ‘evil’ food. Is it as bad as it’s made to be? Should you be ignoring sugar? We at Komati Foods answer these critical questions for you today.

What does sugar actually do?
Sugar is a carbohydrate. Unlike more ‘complex’ carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans and veggies, it’s classed as a ‘simple’ carbohydrate. It breaks down quickly in the blood, and thus can cause quick up and down spikes in blood glucose- a risk for insulin resistance and diabetes. However, does that mean sugar is bad? It’s important to remember that everything- fats, proteins and any carbohydrate or sugar type- will eventually break down into the glucose sugar molecule in our blood. It’s what our brains and bodies run on.

So is sugar bad or good?
Sugar is actually neither. However, when overindulged, as is the case in our modern lifestyles, sugar can contribute to a poor lifestyle that will lead to health problems like diabetes, heart disease, possible mental issues and more. While not ‘addictive’ in the traditional sense, the sweet treats sugar is most often found in do interfere with our sense of satiety, and thus encourage us to overeat. Overconsumption of sugar, in turn, leads to those spikes in blood sugar we mentioned earlier, and adverse effects on the body. It also leaves you feeling less satisfied, and more keen to

[over]eat then with meals rich in more complex carbs, fat and protein.

It is important to note, however, that most of these bad health side effects result from eating a poor diet, deficient in nutrients and minerals needed by a healthy body, and resulting in the overweight frames we acquire. Despite some over-zealous portrayal of sugar as a ‘toxin’, sugar is simply one of the many food groups available to the human diet. Remember, everything you eat will eventually be broken down to a sugar so your body can use it. The manifold issues sugar causes come with vast overconsumption of sugar, encouraged by over-processed fast foods, sugar added unnecessarily to products like cereals and breads, and a culture where sweet and sticky treats are no longer treats but the daily norm.

What should I do?
In a healthy diet, one should never make ‘forbidden foods’ [unless you have a good medical reason to avoid a food group]. This creates an unhealthy relationship with food, and makes you very likely to ‘fail’ in your attempt to create a healthier lifestyle for yourself. Sugar is not a true toxin, despite the hype, but for proper health and wellbeing we need to consume a whole lot less of it. Start by opting for whole grains and vegetables, alongside a healthy meat consumption, and cut processed foods and sweet treats from your daily diet altogether. Limit fruit consumption to 1 or 2 servings a day, as fruit also contains the sugar fructose and can be detrimental in large amounts. But still feel free to indulge in the occasional sweet treat at a birthday celebration or other appropriate moment.

Over-reliance on the indulgent pleasure of sugar is not conducive to health. The occasional sweet treat can have it’s place in an otherwise healthy diet, but it’s important to not over emphasis this particular food group in your diet if you want to remain healthy.