Here are 5 misconceptions about sugar I heard from colleagues, patients and friends. Something tells me these are probably common beliefs among the general public.
1. Gluten-free desserts are not very sweet
Desserts that are made without gluten-containing ingredients can still contain a ton of sugar. Sugar is gluten-free, but not sugar-free.
Exhibit A: Banana bread mix
- Ingredients: sugar, rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, raising agents, maize starch, salt, thickener, natural flavouring, vegetable emulsifier, natural colour
- Sugars per serve (75g): 15.8g (almost 4 teaspoons)
2. Organic yoghurt doesn’t have sugar
Once again, organic does not mean sugar-free. In addition, it does not necessarily mean healthier or “good for you”.
Exhibit B: Blueberry organic yoghurt
- Ingredients: organic milk, organic raw sugar, organic blueberries, organic cream, milk solids, organic milk solids, rice starch, natural blueberry flavour, natural colour, citric acid, live cultures
- Sugars per serve (170g): 15.0g (almost 4 teaspoons)
3. Brown/raw sugar is ok for diabetics
Unless the sugar product you’re buying has been engineered to have a lower GI, all sugars will raise your blood sugar roughly the same. Thus, brown or raw sugar is not better for a diabetic than white sugar.
4. I need sugar to stay awake/alert
Yes, sugar is a source of energy and it will increase your alertness. Unfortunately, this burst of energy is usually short-lived. If you have problems staying awake during the day, you might need to adopt healthier diet and lifestyle habits. Try the following: clean up your sleep routine, eat complex carbohydrates instead of simple ones, and stop relying on excessive amounts of caffeine for energy.
5. There’s no sugar in fruit, it’s all fructose
Fructose is a sugar. Sucrose or table sugar is a disaccharide (= 2 sugars), composed of the monosaccharides (= 1 sugar) glucose and fructose. Even though fructose from fruit is not necessarily poison, it is incorrect to say “fruit is sugar-free”.