Sugar is on trial at New Scientist. The following article attempts to sort out the facts and fiction of Sugar’s bad reputation. How bad is sugar? What are the interests involved in the setting the policy? How much sugary soda should you be drinking? (None. I’m giving it away.) ~ Ilene
It has been called toxic, addictive and deadly, the driving force behind obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Is sugar really so bad?
IMAGINE you are sitting at a table with a bag of sugar, a teaspoon and a glass of water. You open the bag and add a spoonful of sugar to the water. Then another, and another, and another, until you have added 20 teaspoons. Would you drink the water?
Even the most sweet-toothed kid would find it unpalatably sickly. And yet that is the amount of sugar you are likely to eat today, and every day – usually without realising it.
Sugar was once a luxury ingredient reserved for special occasions. But in recent years it has become a large and growing part of our diets. If you eat processed food of any kind, it probably contains added sugar. Three-quarters of the packaged food sold in US supermarkets has had sugar added to it during manufacturing. You can find it in sliced bread, breakfast cereals, salad dressings, soups, cooking sauces and many other staples. Low-fat products often contain a lot of added sugar.
It’s hardly controversial to say that all this sugar is probably doing us no good. Now, though, sugar is being touted as public health enemy number one: as bad if not worse than fat, and the major driving force behind obesity, heart disease and type II diabetes. Some researchers even contend that sugar is toxic or addictive.
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