Why Eliminating All Sugar From Your Diet Is a Health Mistake

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Sugar has been receiving a bad rep for being a health hazard and a dietary nightmare causing consumers to drop the ingredient in their daily consumption. Sugar, which has been linked to obesity, has also been the victim of the most recent anti-aging diet fad which alleges that cutting out sugars can preserve your youth.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended — based on “the totality of evidence regarding the relationship between free sugars intake and body weight and dental caries” – that sugar be less than 5 percent of people’s daily caloric intake. The United Nations even published a commentary in 2012, in the online journal Nature, that sugar should be regulated since it is just as “toxic” as alcohol and tobacco.

But a group of scientists warns that cutting out sugar altogether can be potentially fatal.

“Cutting all sugar from your diet would be very difficult to achieve,” biochemist Leah Fitzsimmons told Mail Online. “Fruits, vegetables, dairy products and dairy replacements, eggs, alcohol and nuts all contain sugar, which would leave you with little other than meat and fats to eat – definitely not very healthy.”

But as with any ingredient, understanding the different types and the source, and consuming with moderation is the key to a healthy diet. In the case of sugar, it comes in various forms: granulated sugar (refined white sugar), brown sugar (sugar with molasses in it), powdered sugar (ground refined sugar), and raw sugar (unrefined or partially refined). As far as consumption is concerned, sugars are found naturally in fruits and vegetables and then they are also found as an ingredient in baked goods and desserts.

“We actually need sugar; it’s our body’s preferred fuel,” Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, explained to CNN. “But we eat too damn much of it.”

How much sugar is a good amount? According to the American Heart Association (AHA), women should only be consuming 24 grams of added sugar (that’s sugar not found naturally in fruits and raw ingredients) a day and men should be taking in 36 grams a day. Most people consume far more sugar than they should because it is hidden in other ingredients that are used for sweetening. If you look at a food label, you’ll be able to identify some of the ingredients sugar hides behind, including: evaporated cane juice, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, agave nectar, fructose, dextrose, and syrup.

“There’s no need to avoid the naturally-occurring sugars in fruit, vegetables, and low- and nonfat dairy,” says Rachel K. Johnson, professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington, to CNN.

While you should not be avoiding fruits due to a fear of sugar, you shouldn’t be binging on them either! In the end of the day, too much sugar — regardless of where it comes from — is a problem. Consider this, a Harvard University study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that eating too much sugar is associated with an increased risk of dying from heart disease. As such, nutritional experts recommend only eat one to two servings of fruit a day.

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