So lets be clear from the outset…Sugar can be consumed in moderation, and it will not cause Diabetes, Heart disease or any other acute or chronic condition on its own. The problems come when sugar is consumed in excess (like with most things) i.e. more than 200g/day or 30% of dietary energy intake. Intakes that exceed this should be avoided because this can lead to elevated plasma concentrations of glucose, insulin and lipids…and this will increase the risk of Diabetes and other chronic conditions (Department of Health, 2008).
A study published in the British Medical Journal investigated the link between sugar and weight gain. Quite simply it found that a reduction of sugar in ones diet resulted in a reduction in weight of around 1kg in adults. The study also found a link between sugar and persistent sugar consumption i.e. the more sugar you consume the more it makes you want to eat more, which asks the question ‘is sugar addictive’?
The problem with sugar is that it just tastes so damn good to humans, and Professor Robert Lustig stated:
"Sugar covers up the other four [tastes on our tongue], so you can't taste the negative aspects of foods. You can make dog poop taste good with enough sugar."
My governing body (The British Dietetic Association) states the following:
"Some research suggests that sugary drinks make it harder for us to regulate the overall amount of calories eaten and a regular intake may be a factor contributing to obesity in children."
So whether sugar is addictive, or whether we simply aren’t applying enough discipline in our everyday lives, sugar MUST be cut down in adults, and in particular children’s diets.
Department of Health, (2008). Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. Sugars. London: TSO