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Is sugar really bad for you?

Is sugar really bad for you?

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ID-10018980This is such a loaded, broad question, and unfortunately cannot be answered with a simple yes or no answer.

People regularly tell me that they have cut out all sugars in their diet. They then go on to explain that they eat cereal and milk for breakfast, fruit or yoghurt for a snack, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner. This is not cutting out sugar from your diet. Every food I just mentioned contains sugar in some form. And I would not want you to cut them out, as these foods contain an array of other nutrients which are an important part of a healthy diet. For example, milk naturally contains lactose, which is a type of sugar. It also contains other important nutrients, such as protein and calcium which are necessary for a healthy body.

On the flip side, there is food with ADDED sugars. Such as chocolate bars, lollies, cakes, many fruit juices, biscuits, icecream and soft drinks. If these are the ones that are being avoided when trying to lose weight, well done! They have little nutritional value, so is best to eat these only occasionally.

The difference between the added sugars and the naturally occurring sugars is related to how refined the product is, and also often how many kilojoules it contains. Choosing the healthier carbohydrate options makes sense.
That said, if you are training very hard and have increased energy requirements, some of these options are required (Gu anyone?)

So I guess in as short as sentence as possible, my answer to this question is ‘no, not all sugar is bad for you’.

Chloe McLeod is a dietitian at BJC Health.
This blog focuses on diet & nutrition generally and diet & nutrition in relation to the treatment of arthritis and arthritis-related diseases. Contact us if you'd like our help in managing diet-related health issues.

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