Sugar has long been a diet no-no, with high-sugar diets proven to lead to prolonged elevated blood sugar, insulin resistance, and leptin resistance (the ability to suppress appetite). And according to Healthline, these are all linked to weight gain and excess body fat, among other health issues.
Research has shown people have seen “significant effects” when it comes to weight loss and overall health after they cut sugar from their diets.
And while sugar can be a part of a healthy diet, Dr David Katz pointed out that “we eat too much of it”.
One study found that people who ate less sugar lost an average of a kilo over a period of 10 weeks while people who increased their sugar intake gained nearly a kilo in the same amount of time.
Dr Robert Lustig, a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of California-San Francisco and author of the book Fat Chance: The Hidden Truth About Sugar, claims the substance, while tasty, is “toxic”.
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This is because the amount of sugar tends to be “modest” and is packed with fibre and other healthful nutrients.
It can be found in whole, unprocessed foods, such as the fructose in bananas or berries, or lactose in a glass of skim milk.
Clinical dietician Vanessa Voltolina said: “Foods with natural sugars tend to be low in calories and sodium, and high in water content and many important vitamins and minerals.
“The fibre in fruits slows down how quickly your body digests it, so you don’t get the same sugar spike you get after eating a doughnut.
“And the lactose in milk comes with a healthy serving of protein that provides sustained energy, so you feel full longer than after a sugar-packed soda.”
So where should people start cutting down on sugar?
Health experts recommend reducing sugar intake within recommended guidelines, offering some handy tips:
Cut back on the amount of sugar regularly added to foods and drinks, such as tea, coffee, cereal and pancakes
Replace sugar-sweetened beverages with sugar-free or low-calorie drinks
Compare food labels and select the products with the lowest amounts of added sugars
When baking cakes, reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe by a third
Try replacing sugar in recipes with extracts or spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, almond or vanilla
Replace sugar on cereal or oatmeal with fruit, which is loaded with natural sugars instead.