The INSIDER Summary:
- INSIDER has rounded up some of the most pervasive myths and misconceptions about sugar.
- For example, sugar does not cause cavities; acid does.
- There's no such thing as a sugar rush — no, extra candy does not make your kid hyper.
We've seen the alarming documentaries, sat through health class lectures, and watched the obesity numbers steadily grow at an alarming rate. Sugar is the enemy, right?
While eating too much sugar is directly associated with obesity and a host of heart and liver-related problems, there are plenty of myths out there with a host of misinformation that oftentimes makes eating even moderate amounts of sugar sound worse than it is. After all, we do need sugar to live.
"We all need sugar — it's the basic building block of what runs our bodies, and, in fact, it's necessary," Dr. Jennifer Haythe, a cardiologist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York told INSIDER. "But I'd rather my patients have more fruits and vegetables and lean proteins because of all of the overly processed ingredients surrounding sugary foods."
Keep scrolling to discover the truth behind some of the most common myths about sugar.
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MYTH: Some types of sugar are better for you than others
FACT: All "types" of sugar have the same effect on your body.
"There’s this idea that there are different types of sugar, but that’s a myth," Dr. Haythe said. "Brown sugar, white sugar, honey... they are all ultimately broken down into the same thing: glucose. All forms of sugar are carbohydrates that can be used as glucose."
MYTH: Sugar makes kids hyperactive
FACT: There's no such thing as a sugar high.
"The idea that sugar makes children hyperactive is one of the funniest myths about sugar out there," Dr. Haythe said.
Various scientific studies over the years have determined that in fact there is zero direct connection between eating sugar and hyperactivity.
A definitive research paper published by Dr. Mark Wolraich, chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, concluded that "sugar does not appear to affect behavior in children."
MYTH: Sugar is as addictive as hard drugs
FACT: There is no conclusive evidence that sugar is addictive.
"There's no evidence that sugar can act as a gateway drug," Dr. Haythe said. "You can't get high from sugar, and there's no conclusive evidence that sugar is addictive."
There are multiple conflicting studies concerning the subject of sugar addiction. One French study published in 2013 links cravings for sweets with the "reward" center of our brains that are induced by addictive drugs. The study concluded that sugar can be even more addictive than cocaine.
But other doctors and researchers contest that study's findings, stating that you only see addiction-like behavior in rodents when the animals are restricted to eating sugar for a certain time frame each day. When the test subjects are allowed to eat sugar whenever they want — like humans — the addictive properties vanish.
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