The Truth About Sugar

By Rachael Moeller Gorman, "Solving the Sugar Puzzle," September/October 2012

What’s good? What’s bad? How much sugar is too much? Here’s what the latest science says.

"There is no substitute for whole natural foods, a variety of foods, eaten in season. I read that xylitol, which is marketed as a natural sugar, is actually processed using toxic chemicals. "

Other epidemiological studies show a relationship that’s tenuous at best between fructose and metabolic syndrome. The Women’s Health Study found that risk of diabetes was no different in women who consumed the lowest amount of sucrose (about 6 1/2 teaspoons) versus those who consumed the most (about 14 teaspoons); the amount of fructose made no difference either. A 2010 scientific paper that reviewed all the epidemiological studies that have been published on the topic stated it like this: “epidemiological studies, at this stage, provide an incomplete, sometimes discordant appraisal of the relationship between fructose or sugar intake and metabolic/cardiovascular diseases.”

In addition, short-term lab studies conducted in people—in which they are plucked from their daily lives and placed in a lab for a period of time—show that when we eat a very large percentage of our calories from pure fructose, we do have more triglycerides in our blood and more fat deposits in our liver and muscle, but our blood pressure and body weight don’t rise compared to people who eat the same percentage of their calories from another carbohydrate. Though the trials are small (a dozen or two participants), they are the best we have right now.

In other words, these studies provide no clear answer yet to the question of whether fructose in added sugar is giving us metabolic syndrome.

Next: Are We Overdosing? »

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner