When sugar is eaten in small amounts, or in moderation, it may not harm your health. BUT, when you have a diet that is high in added sugars it can have bad effects on the body, such as obesity and associated diseases, and high levels of triglycerides (fat) in the blood.
What is added sugar?
Sugar is added to foods to:
- Add flavor
- Add texture
- Help with “leavening” (rising) for bread and fermentation for beer, wine and spirits
- Preserve jams, fruit and other foods
- Provide a balance for acidic foods such as vinegar- and tomato-based foods
Examples of added sugar:
- Sugar (white, brown, raw or turbinado)
- Syrup (including corn and high fructose)
- Molasses (sorghum)
- Soft drinks
Added sugar includes sugars and syrups that are used as an ingredient in the preparation of foods such as beverages, cakes, breads, ice cream, or jellies. This also includes sugars that are added at the table or eaten separately. Added sugar is listed on ingredient labels as: invert sugar, sucrose, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup and honey.
Because sugar (or one of many forms) is the main ingredient of many desserts, we also can count cookies, pies, candy and cake as part of added sugar, whereas the sugar that is naturally found in fruit is not.
What are the benefits of sugar?
Well, there really aren’t any benefits to eating sugar.…other than happiness (and that happiness is fleeting – just a few seconds on the tongue, but years on the waistline!). Some recent studies, mostly done in mice or in the Petri dish, also show that sugar can cause cancer cells to grow faster. While there is yet to be convincing evidence in humans, the fact remains that sugar has little benefit and might cause harm. Therefore, try to limit the amount of added sugars you eat.