Is sugar harmful to your health?

Human beings have mastered the technology of extracting sugar from sugar cane more than 2,000 years ago. However, before the 17th century,
sugar had always been an expensive luxury product. The price was comparable to spices such as pepper, cloves, and ginger. Only Only the rich can afford it. Beginning in the 16th century, European colonists planted large quantities of sugar cane in the West Indies and tropical areas of America. At the same time, sugar refining technology also improved. Especially after mechanized production began at the end of the 18th century, sugar production increased significantly and the price dropped.

Sugar gradually became
a daily necessity . As a result, people’s lifestyles changed and they became accustomed to adding a large amount of sugar to their diet. For example, the British
first added sugar to their tea. Later, sweets, chocolates, jams and other desserts also became very popular. Sugar
consumption has also increased exponentially. In 1700, the average sugar consumption per person in Britain was 4 pounds,
increased to , reached 36 pounds in 1850, and by the 20th century, it exceeded 100 pounds.

  At present, the average person in the world consumes about 25 kilograms of sugar every year, and the consumption of Americans, who ranks first,
is almost twice the world average. People’s energy intake from sugar ranks third among food groups,
after cereals and edible oils. However, in addition to providing energy, cereals and edible oils can also provide essential
nutrients : cereals can provide protein, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, and edible oils can provide essential
fatty acids, which are difficult to be replaced by other foods; and sugar In addition to providing energy, they do not provide any
nutrients are so-called “empty calories” that can be completely replaced by other foods. The medical community generally agrees that people
consume too much sugar from food and should limit it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture issues a “Dietary Guidelines .

Dietary Guidelines

The latest version of the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020” recommends that daily energy from added sugars should
be less than 10% of total food energy. Currently, Americans The average daily energy intake from added sugar accounts for 13% of food energy. And most people exceed the limit. The World Health Organization has also launched a war to limit sugar intake.
The “Guidelines for Sugar Intake for Adults and Children” promulgated in 2015 give stricter recommendations than the U.S. Dietary Guidelines:

  ”The World Health Organization recommends reducing free sugars throughout life. intake (strongly recommended). For
both adults and children, the World Health Organization recommends reducing free sugar intake to less than 10% of total energy intake (strongly recommended). The World Health Organization recommends reducing free sugar intake to less than 10% of total energy intake (strongly
recommended). Further reduce to less than 5% of total energy intake
(conditional recommendation).”

  Comparing the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and the World Health Organization guidelines reveals slight differences. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines focus on added sugar, which refers to
various sugar sweeteners such as sucrose, syrup, fructose, glucose, honey, maltose, etc. that are added to foods during processing and cooking. It does not include sugar sweeteners naturally present in foods. sugar.

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization refers to free sugars as monosaccharides (including glucose,
galactose and fructose) and disaccharides (mainly sucrose) added to food by manufacturers, cooks or consumers, as well as honey, syrups, juices and juice concentrates.
Naturally occurring sugars in the liquid . The main difference is between “juice” and “juice concentrate”. If it is
raw juice without added sugar, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines do not count the sugar in it, but juice contains free sugar.
According to the World Health Organization Suggestions need to be calculated.

  The sugars in whole fruits and vegetables are called endogenous sugars and are not free sugars. Why does endogenous sugar not count if it is also sugar? This is because endogenous sugars are wrapped in plant cell walls and are digested more slowly, taking longer to enter the bloodstream than free sugars. Polysaccharide carbohydrates such as starch will also be
digested into glucose, but digestion and absorption are also slow. Therefore, although endogenous sugars and polysaccharides can provide the same energy as free sugar (providing 4 kcal or 16.7 kJ of energy per gram),

  So what special harm does free sugar have to the human body? It is very difficult to determine the harmful effects of an ingredient that is almost
ubiquitous . There are generally two research methods. One is a randomized controlled clinical
trial, in which test subjects are randomly divided into two groups and their diets are controlled. One group consumes more free sugars and the other
consumes less. Their physical conditions are compared after a period of time. Another method is a cohort study.
intervene in the diet of the research subjects, but groups them according to
the level and compares their physical conditions. If it is a comparative study based on their past dietary conditions.

Identified only two dangers

  The World Health Organization ultimately identified only two dangers of free sugar. One hazard is being
overweight or obese. Randomized controlled clinical trials in adults have shown that reduced free sugar intake
is associated , and conversely, increased free sugar intake is associated with weight gain. Randomized controlled clinical
trials have not found a relationship between free sugar intake and body weight, but prospective cohort studies have found that
children who consume the most sugar-sweetened beverages have a higher risk of obesity than those who consume the least sugar-sweetened beverages. . Another danger of free sugar
is that it increases the risk of tooth decay. Cohort studies have shown that children
or adults whose free sugar intake exceeds 10% of the total food energy have a higher risk of dental caries than those who consume less than 10% of the total food energy.
Furthermore, three national population studies found that those who consumed less than 10 kilograms of free sugars per year (approximately
5% of total food energy) had lower dental caries severity. Additionally, there is some evidence that high
consumption of increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. In fact, obesity
inherently increases the risk of these chronic diseases.

  The quality of the evidence from these studies is not high, which means that it is not conclusive yet, and there is
a possibility . Dare you make the suggestion to eat less sugar before the conclusion is finalized? People in the sugar industry are going to protest. However, this is the comprehensive result of multiple
studies . The conclusion has a certain degree of repeatability. Although it is not conclusive, it is likely to be established. If
this advice is correct, it could have huge health benefits. In case this advice is wrong, it’s not harmful to your health:
there’s no known harm to your body from eating less free sugar.


  Therefore, the less free sugars you consume, the better, and should not exceed 10% of the total energy of the food. What is this amount equal to?
What about sugar? There is no fixed standard for the food energy a person needs to maintain a healthy weight, and it is related to
a person’s gender, age, physical condition, level of exercise and other factors. The nutrition community usually uses 2,000
kcal per day as a reference value, which is equivalent to the food calories a young woman with a height of 1.6 meters and a weight of 50 kilograms who does 30 to 60
minutes moderate-intensity exercise a day needs in a day. According to this reference value, daily
energy intake from free sugars cannot exceed 200 kcal. 1 gram of sucrose provides 4 kcal of energy, which is
equivalent to 50 grams of sucrose. A small bag of sugar used for drinking coffee weighs 2.8 grams, which is equivalent to 11 kilocalories of energy,
which may not sound like much. But the limit on free sugar includes the free sugar contained in all foods, not
just the little sucrose you add to your daily diet. The energy provided by the sugar in a can of Coke is 130 kcal.
If you drink two cans of Coke a day, the free sugar intake will exceed the standard.

  Added sugar used in the food processing industry is usually sucrose extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets. This situation changed in the 1970s. In 1977, in order to protect the domestic sugar industry, the U.S. government increased
tariffs and implemented quotas on sugar imports, which led to an increase in sugar prices and forced American food manufacturers to look for cheap sugar substitutes and
began to use fructose syrup (also called fructose syrup) produced from corn starch in large quantities. High fructose corn syrup, high fructose syrup,
English abbreviation HFCS). The end product of starch hydrolysis is usually glucose, but glucose is not very sweet . 

If xylose isomerase is added, part of the glucose will be converted into sweeter fructose,
and the resulting mixture of glucose and fructose is called fructose syrup. Many people blame fructose syrup, which is not a “natural”
sweetener, for contributing to the obesity epidemic in the United States over the past three to forty years. Indeed, some studies show that
when consumed in equal amounts, fructose syrup has more adverse effects on the body than glucose.
For example, some animal experiments have found that eating glucose will make animals feel full. When the blood sugar concentration reaches a certain level,
animals will feel full and stop eating. However, fructose syrup will not make animals feel full, so animals will
If you keep eating, you will easily gain weight. Other studies have found that fructose syrup is more easily convert into triglycerides than glucose, causing the deposition of organ fat.

  The difference between fructose syrup and glucose is that in addition to glucose, it also contains fructose, so its adverse effects on
the body are all caused by fructose. But although fructose corn syrup is also called high fructose corn
syrup , the fructose content in it is not very high. We can compare it with sucrose. Sucrose is
a disaccharide. After digestion, one molecule of sucrose produces one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose, which is equivalent to
50% fructose. There are two main types of fructose syrup used in the food processing industry. One is called HFCS 42, which is used in
various processed foods such as pastries, breakfast cereals, and beverages. Its fructose content is 42%, which is lower than that in sucrose.
The other is call HFCS 55, which is use in soft drinks such as cola. Its fructose content is higher, at 55%, but it is only
slightly higher than the fructose content in sucrose. The later kind of fructose syrup is actually simulate honey, and the fructose
content in honey is about 55%. Instead, the fructose content in some juices is surprisingly high. Apple juice, for example, contains twice as much
fructose as glucose (that is, two-thirds of its free sugars are fructose). If you are worry about
the dangers , the first thing you should worry about is “natural” fruit juice.

  So it makes no sense to attribute the increase in obesity in the United States to the replacement of “natural” sucrose with “unnatural” fructose
syrup . Fructose syrup is no more harmful to the body than sucrose. If you listen to
the propaganda of some “health experts” and “organic food organizations” and are afraid of fructose syrup, you switch to foods that are advertise as containing no
fructose syrup and only contain “natural sweeteners”, thinking that you are eating “natural” food. The sucrose and honey are
harmless and can be eat freely, but that would be bad. As long as it is free sugar, it is harmful to the body, whether it is “
unnatural ” fructose syrup, or fructose and glucose in sucrose, honey or even fruit juice. The wise choice is
to minimize your intake of free sugars rather than looking for “natural” alternatives.

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