Posted on December 29, 2019 12:59 pm

What if sugar isn’t even that bad for you?

That’s not to say that if you were to eat, say, 100 teaspoons of sugar each day you’d be fine; clearly you wouldn’t, and the effects on your health of excessive sugar are clear. As with anything, let’s be honest, if you eat or drink enough of it at some point you’re going to get sick.

Theoretically if you ate a teaspoon of mud every day, aside from it tasting terrible and you perhaps throwing it back up, there wouldn’t be any long term health effects. Having said that, if you tried to eat a bucket a day then you almost certainly would not be healthy.

For years now it appears there’s been a myth that has surrounded sugar, in that many people believe any sugar to bad, rather than too much. Let’s not forget that sugar content occurs naturally in most fruits and honeys, and these are generally considered good for us.

Where the concern comes in is when people automatically assume that eating sugar of any kind will result in obesity and diabetes, and there have been some misleading media headlines to back up that misguided idea, too.

Some new scientific research has come to light that casts doubt on this, however, and may give more context on how people come to get poorly and overweight.

Calories are key

New research done by the European Journal of Nutrition has drawn some further conclusions to how we end up with diabetes and other illnesses.

For some time researchers and doctors have known that sugar is bad for us but have never really been able to tell us why or how. They knew that it had some effect on our ability to produce insulin, but weren’t sure of exactly how.

This new research concludes that whilst excess sugar definitely does impede our ability to produce insulin, and also how effective it is, but it is also heavily linked to the amount of calories we eat.

That means that whilst excess sugar isn’t particularly good for you, those who do indulge in far too much sugar also tend to binge on high calorie foods too. For example, eating a high sugar diet in the form of ice cream and candy won’t help you, but it’s also a pretty reliable indicator that you don’t have healthy eating habits anyway.

Researchers concluded that while the intake of soft drinks and added sugars has increased alongside obesity in the US, the data only represents broad correlations.

Time for government to rethink

Whilst governments introducing extra taxes to try and incentivise a healthier population is a good thing, there’s pretty solid evidence now that they’re targeting the wrong thing in isolation.

Yes sugary drinks and sodas, for example, aren’t good for you, but then neither is bacon. If you only drink sugary drinks all day then you’ll become dehydrated and short of energy, which may drive you to eat other unhealthy things to try and satisfy yourself.

It’s interesting news for those of us that operate within that industry, and have perhaps felt a little unfairly scrutinised recently, that those who do become overweight or develop illness due to sugar consumption probably didn’t do it with sugar alone, and it begs the question; what can governments do to promote a more generally healthy lifestyle?