Is Sugar really that bad?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by senseless, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. senseless macrumors 68000

    senseless

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    #1
    60 minutes had a segment on Sugar and the toxic effects on the body. It was a little scary, if true. Is sugar something to be avoided whenever possible or is this another health scare to be proven false in a few years? This one really hits home. :(
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

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    #2
    Like with every eatable component, sugar can be unhealthy, if you consume too much. Fat can be bad too. Carbs can be bad too, but only if you consume too much*.


    * more than your body needs, which depends on your weight, sex and what kind of work you do

    One example of the many "eat healthy" articles out there.
     
  3. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #3
    As I understand it, sugar is "dangerous" because of the effects it has on obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay, etc. But these are all the result of excessive sugar intake, not sugar intake.

    Sugar is a necessary nutrient, but it must be consumed in moderate/reasonable amounts (just like water, sodium, fat, etc.).

    Thinking of it as a toxin is misguided. Never trust the news media for medical advice.
     
  4. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #4
    Not to beat a cliche to death, but...moderation in all things.

    There are no bad foods, only bad amounts.:D
     
  5. eternlgladiator macrumors 68000

    eternlgladiator

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    #5
    Sugar isn't bad by itself. Large quantities of it are.
     
  6. wpotere Guest

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    #6
    Welllllllll, there are bad foods, but I do agree with you on moderation.
     
  7. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    #7
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 4s)

    Sugar sandwiches yum yum!
     
  8. wpotere Guest

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    #8
    See, bad food! :p
     
  9. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Use moderation with all. Except moderation itself, which should be practiced excessively.
     
  10. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #10
    A lot of studies and meta-studies link free sugar consumption to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer disease, macular degeneration, and the dreaded gum disease know as gingivitis. Because sugar is so ubiquitous and comes in so many forms, it's ridiculously hard to control for and so it's hard to conclusively say "sugar is X." That said, the WHO recommends ensuring that less than 10% of your daily dietary carbohydrates come refined sugars.

    A better take away than avoiding refined sugar ought to be, however, to try and eat food that's been as unrefined as possible. I doubt very much our ancestors spent their days chasing down wild sugar free soda because they were concerned about the full calorie Dr. Peppers getting the better of them. If it comes wrapped in plastic, you should probably eat it in moderation, no matter what health claims are on the wrapper.
     
  11. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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  12. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #12
    I didn't see the show, but, yes, sugar is to be avoided as much as possible.

    Sugar is not a necessary nutrient. You need to consume 0 grams of sugar per day, and, that also includes simple starches (white flour, white rice). Sometimes it is used (as glucose) in medicine when people can't eat normally. Excess sugar consumption is toxic to most people, although the word "toxin" is usually used for things that are toxic in milli- or micro- grams. Most people can consume 40 grams of sugar/starch without major harm. Unfortunately, many people today consume much, much more. It is easy to tell who they are.

    Eating zero sugar could be dangerous to your health because people who eat with you will make fun of you and complain about how healthy you look. Better not to be known as a zealot, even if you are. Keep quiet about your low sugar/starch diet if you decide to try it out.

    Yes, processed food is loaded with sugar. And, modern industrial sugar is so cheap-- our ancestors never had access to the vast quantities of sugar that we eat now. Carbohydrates in the form of vegetables (e.g. broccoli) is all most people ever need (unless they are emaciated and need to put on weight quickly).
     
  13. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #13
    Admittedly I'm a bit out of my field here, but I fail to see how one could survive and be healthy without consuming sugars. Even broccoli, carrots, etc. contain sugar. Not to mention fruit and starches like corn and potato.

    I suppose you're right in that it's not a "necessary nutrient" because the human body can produce its own sugars from other food sources, but it's still utilized by the body as a sugar either way.

    Like I said, sugar isn't the culprit, it's too much sugar that becomes a problem.
     
  14. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #14
    Precisely. Unfortunately, we have become way to accustomed to eating refined sugars, the worst being high fructose corn syrup. Avoid that crap whenever possible. Any drinks that are not natural juices should be avoided as well. It's crap and will make you feel like crap.


    Of course, but those are natural sources that are not processed. Like anything else, processed foods should be avoided as much as possible. I'm going to scare some people with this, but soy is no better because of how processed it is. Walk away from anything processed, even tofu. It's not good for you. Wheat is another culprit.
     
  15. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #15
    I think the trick is that while your body does eventually process almost all of the calories you eat into glucose for energy, some calories are a lot better for you than others. Sugars and starches don't give your body anything besides the immediate release of energy, which you may not be able to use effectively. Those calories are also not filling, so you're likely to eat the same amount of other food and then the sugar and starch become excess calories, eventually turning into body fat.
     
  16. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #16
    The body turns complex carbohydrates (starches) to glucose almost instantly, but, it also turns protein and fat into glucose as needed, so, in fact, you can live on sugar-free diet. But, this is a big subject, so, if you are interested, I have a reference at the bottom for a book by Gary Taubes that is likely in your local public library.

    Yes, the body does create all the glucose it needs from other sources. So, you might think it doesn't matter whether it comes from pure sugar, simple starches, complex starches mixed with fiber, protein, or fat. But, it turns out it does matter, because of the interaction with insulin. If you are interested in deeper understanding, I suggest the following book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Good-Calories-Bad-Challenging-Conventional/dp/1400040787

    I gave the Amazon reference, but it is very likely to be in your library.
     
  17. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #17
    But your body can't tell the difference between sucrose straight out of the sugar cane vs. the white stuff you buy wrapped in a pink C&H bag. It's all C12H22O11.

    Same with salt. Doesn't matter if it comes in a canister or straight from a mine deep in Austria. It's all NaCl. (Actually, I suppose it does, because only the former will help prevent goiters, but you know what I mean.)

    Though, your body can tell the difference between sucrose and HFCS because the latter has a higher fructose to glucose ratio, making it more difficult to absorb (varying greatly by the individual). But again, in moderation, it's really no worse for you than other sources of sugar.

    I think in the end it's more useful to focus on the type of sugar rather than "natural" vs. "processed." And even more importantly, I think quantity is what we should really be focusing on.
     
  18. haiggy macrumors 65816

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    #18
    a long lecture but very good and educational:



    sugar isn't bad for you, excessive sugar is. however in today's society you can't just say "eat less sugar" because the popularization of high fructose corn syrup has put sugar as an ingredient into almost everything you eat due to its cheap cost.

    seriously, this lecture is fascinating and makes a lot of sense. the last bit is a bit too hardcore in terms of biochemistry so you can skip it but basically long term effects of sugar intake are the same as alcohol. so what 60 minutes said may have definitely been true and i think sugar is the reason for the rise in obesity in the world... not fat (contrary to what many think)
     
  19. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #19
    Fair enough, and I realize my mistake. My use of "necessary nutrient" wasn't proper. What I meant to say is that your body needs sugars to function.

    Though, I don't think it follows that one could be healthy without consuming any sugar, in virtue of the fact that many healthy food sources contain sugar. Correct me if I'm wrong, but virtually all fruits & vegetables, many nuts, and some legumes contain sugar, no?

    That much I knew. I would never try to say that eating a candy bar is as nutritious as eating an apple. :) My only point is that both contain sugar, so sugar alone isn't the culprit for causing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc. It's the way we eat sugar (namely, quantity).
     
  20. jnpy!$4g3cwk, Apr 2, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012

    jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #20
    Fruits all contain sugar. (The ones that don't we refer to as vegetables, even if they are actually "fruits".) Most vegetables contain a significant amount of starch. However, only in a relatively few cases do vegetables contain such a large ratio of starch to fiber as to be a huge problem for blood glucose levels. Potatoes are a vegetable that usually gets left out of "low-carb" diets. But, honestly, you also do have to be careful about eating too much fruit or too many starchy vegetables. You mentioned apples, for example. But, many apples today are at least twice as the used to be -- or more. There is a lot of sugar in one of today's super-jumbo apples-- perhaps a whole day's allowance of sugar in the one gigantic apple.

    Yes, sugar has an essential role in the commerce of the body. The body makes all it needs from sources that have zero sugar. But, added sugar, along with tons of low-fiber starch, do appear to be the culprit for most cases of diabetes. But, don't take it from me: read Gary Taubes' book.
     
  21. senseless thread starter macrumors 68000

    senseless

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    #21
    I have now given up sugar for 2 days and no longer have overwhelming fatigue mid afternoon and evening. I used to yawn all day and get weak if I hadn't eaten by 1pm. This is all gone now. It's very short term, but I'm surprised how much better I feel already. I did consume a lot of sugary foods before.
     
  22. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #22
    Sugar is naturally present in certain things. You find it in fruits and vegetables, yet for the most part their fiber content limits the rate of uptake into the bloodstream, and it's really not the same quantity found in something like a soft drink anyway. If anything it's just an issue with refined products and added sugar. Reading labels can help quite a lot in this regard. If you're used to it, it's fairly addictive. For me personally, things like candy or soda taste way too sweet.
     
  23. mgguy macrumors 6502

    mgguy

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    #23
    Desserts made with sugar are pleasurable to eat and increase psychic energy, in my experience. Also, I loves me some sugar in my strong espresso coffees. Too much sugar may be bad for one's physical health, but in my opinion too little can compromise one's emotional well being.
     
  24. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #24
    Part of that is because sugars found in fruits are natural, whereas pop and whatnot contains HFCS and other artificial sweeteners, and in massive amounts, which the body can't properly digest.
     
  25. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #25
    I know. Part of my explanation was related to if the topic of fruit vs. fruit juice came up. Fruit juice tends to lack some of the fibrous portions which slow the rate of uptake. Of course it's tough to find pesticide free versions of fruit with edible skin, and the skin contains most of the fiber.
     

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