5 Surprising White Lies About Sugar And You

Updated: Jun 10, 2019

We all know sugar is everywhere we look, hidden in foods that we might never expect, like pasta sauce or processed meals. In fact it is estimated that there is sugar added to around three quarters of food products we buy from the supermarket.

In a very short period of time, sugar has become part of our everyday diet, often whether we like it or not and even if we think we may be eating a health diet, you might be surprised at just how much sugar you are eating.

There is so much dis-information about this stuff, so here are the five biggest lies about sugar along with the surprising truth!

Woman offering a choice of an apple or a donut

Lie #1 - "Sugar Isn’t Addictive"

Many food corporations would love us to think that sugar is sweet and innocent, and by putting it into foods we won’t get addicted. You couldn’t picture anything more harmless looking than a birthday cake covered in icing and candles right?

But the real truth is that sugar is as addictive as cocaine - the highly addictive class A drug. Experiments have been done with lab rats showing that the rats preferred water laced with sugar than they did water laced with cocaine.

It’s the fructose that makes up roughly fifty percent of any type of sugar that creates the addiction and it is one of the only types of food that doesn’t trigger the sensation of ‘fullness’. That’s why you can keep on eating sugar until you feel sick. When was the last time you ate so much broccoli or cheese that you felt sick?

And what’s worse is our kids are getting hooked earlier and earlier, with food companies targeting children through sweets and cereals. By the time a child is old enough to learn the dangers of sugar, they are more than likely hooked, so it’s our job as adults to see through the ads and packaging and keep sugar intake to a sensible level.

Most of a child’s sugar intake is through sugary pop and soda, so cutting down on these can prevent sugar addiction at a young age and learn to see through all of the marketing hype and understand the truth - that sugar is addictive.

Lie #2 - "Sugar Doesn’t Make You Fat"

There used to be the old adage that ‘fat makes you fat’. This narrative was peddled by the food agencies many years ago in an attempt to fend off attacks on the sugar industry.

The truth is that sugar does indeed make you fat. Most sugar products, from refined table sugar, to honey, to syrups, all break down into roughly equal parts glucose and sucrose. Glucose is the energy source for all living cells, and as such can be processed by any cell in the human body. Without glucose no living person, animal or plant could function - it is an essential energy source.

Fructose however is a different story altogether. Is has no purpose within human metabolism, and is completely unnecessary. It can only be processed by the liver, and if there is any kind of overload, then the liver has to store the fructose as fat.

So while half of all sugar you eat are used up as energy (glucose), the other half (fructose) often just gets stored as fat.

So remember, it’s not the fat making you fat, it’s more likely to be the sugar.

Lie #3 - "Sugar Gives You Energy"

Yes, sugar does give you energy, but only briefly, and for any energy gains you may temporarily receive when you eat a chocolate bar or drink a fizzy drink, you will pay the price later in the form of an equal, or greater, energy slump.

This often creates a sugar addiction cycle, as many people will then have another fizzy drink or other sugary treat when the slump hits and so the cycle repeats.

Getting stuck in this cycle, day in, day out, can give you massively fluctuating energy levels, and simply by breaking this chain of events, you can not only free yourself from sugar addiction but also provide a constant, even energy level through the day.

So every time you rely on sweet products to provide temporary energy, you put yourself further into the sugar addiction cycle, which will leave you feeling drained and tired later on.

Chart showing the stages of a sugar addiction cycle

Lie #4 - "Table Sugar Can Be Replaced By Other ‘Healthy’ Sugars & Syrups"

An easy mistake to make is simply swapping out white table sugar for what seems to be a more 'healthy' source of sweetness, such as Agave syrup or Honey. Although these may have microscopic amounts of micronutrients, they most certainly do not classify as ‘healthy’ alternatives.

The truth is, just like any other type of sugar, they break down to roughly fifty percent glucose and fifty percent fructose once they are digested, and react exactly the same way as any other type of sugar. There are over 60 different names for all the types of sugar, but remember, once they are digested they are all the same.

Chart showing the 62 names for sugar