Should We Eliminate Sugar from Our Diet?
Sugar is a common part of the average diet, and that has only increased in the past few decades. But as sugar intake has increased, so too has diabetes, obesity and other health problems that can be directly linked to adding more sugar into the average diet.
The World Health Organization is considering decreasing the amount of recommended sugar in the daily diet by 50%. And many health experts seek to eliminate sugar completely from any recommended diet plan. But is that taking it too far or are current steps to improve people’s health not going far enough?
The Effect of Excess Sugar
Before we can determine if sugar needs to be completely eliminated from our diets or just reduced, we first have to consider what sugar does exactly. We know that it is a major source of fuel for our bodies. Sugar, in its various forms, gives us the energy to love active lifestyles and to feel invigorated and happy. But there is certainly a downside to consuming large amounts of sugar.
For one, sugar is a major contributor to diabetes and obesity. Sugar that is not converted into energy becomes fat, so people eating more sugar than they can use are simply gaining more weight. Our body has little use for all that excess sugar that is being pumped into our foods and beverages, so it just stores it all up.
And there is certainly more sugar being put into what we consume than ever before. On top of that, these sugary substances are more popular than they were in the past. In previous generations, processed bread, sodas, unhealthy desserts and other foods chocked full of sugar were not as plentiful. But food manufacturers know that our bodies crave sugar, and the more sugar we eat the more of it we want. It works on the same level as many addictive drugs, and food manufacturers play into that craving.
That is why it is easy enough to eat too much sugar. And that quickly leads to a number of different health problems. So will we actually be able to cut out many health problems by simply cutting out sugar?
Is Getting Rid of Sugar the Answer?
The answer to our diet problems is not as simple as just cutting out food. Sure, if sugar disappears from the average diet we won’t be seeing people who are obese or diabetic as often, but we will also be dealing with a major lack of energy. People would become lethargic, depressed, and generally unhealthy.
Sugar in some form or another is quite pervasive in the foods we eat. Fruits, dairy products, nuts and even vegetables all have large amounts of sugar in them. These are foods that give us alto energy, and if we were to cut them out, we would miss out on their benefits as well. Cutting out sugar entirely would require more than just chopping processed foods and soft drinks off the diet. Sugar occurs naturally in many of the foods that are essential for good health and balanced diets.
So there is no way to effectively eliminate sugar from our diets and remain healthy. What we can do is cut back on the amount of sugar we consume and ensure that we treat sugar as a snack or reward and not as a major component of our diet. Sugar should be kept to small portions and consumed infrequently; the bulk of our diet should not consist of sugar.
Making these kinds of changes will greatly reduce the risk of diabetes or obesity and allow us to live healthier lives. Those who claim that sugar needs to be completely eliminated are not looking at all the foods that sugar comes from. And using replacement sweeteners is no better for our bodies than natural sugar or added sugars. The artificial sweeteners come with their own negative side effects when consumed in large quantities. Saccharin and sucralose, which make up most artificial sweeteners, are components that lead to diabetes. The same problems occur whether you are eating natural sugars or not, so the answer is not an elimination of sugar but rather a reduction of it in our diets.