Sugar: Part III

Health Problems Associated with Simple Sugars

Simple sugars have a really bad reputation and are often spoken about as culprits for tooth decay, hyperactivity in children, increasing the risk for heart disease, and causing diabetes and obesity.

Are these all true?

Sugar Causes Tooth Decay

  • YES
  • Bacteria that causes tooth decay thrives on sugar.
  • Tooth enamel wears off which can lead to cavities and gum disease.
  • Foods that stick to your teeth can make it worse, such as: caramels, crackers, sugary cereals, and licorice.
  • Constantly sipping sugary drinks also makes it worse.
  • What to do? Brush your teeth after each meal and snack, especially if you drank sugary drinks or had food that sticks to your teeth.

Sugar & Hyperactivity in Children

  • FALSE
  • Studies have not been able to prove this (studies look at the short-term effect, i.e. a few hours).
  • More studies should be conducted on the long-term effect of sugar intake (this has not been done).

Sugar & Heart Disease

  • Studies have shown a correlation between a high simple sugar diet and negative changes in blood lipids.
  • A diet high in sugars is associated with an increase in triglycerides and LDLs (bad cholesterol) and a decrease in HDLs (good cholesterol).
  • There is not enough evidence to say sugar causes heart disease.

Sugar & Diabetes

  • A diet high in simple sugar does not cause diabetes.
  • People with diabetes should monitor their sugar intake and blood glucose levels.

Sugar & Obesity

  • Sugar does not cause obesity.
  • However, studies do seem to suggest that those who have a higher sugar diet may have a greater risk of obesity.
  • The other main concern is that those who consume a high sugar diet are inadequately fulfilling other nutrient needs.

Up Next: Ways to Reduce your Sugar Intake

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