Sugar compared with honey
The case with honey is similar. Honey largely consists of various sugars, such as fructose and glucose, as well as minerals and traces of vitamins. These minerals are inadequate to meet our mineral requirements and, vis-a-vis other forms of sugar, do not provide any notable nutritional advantages.
Sugar as a source of energy
The beet sugar produced at the AGRANA sites consists of nearly 100% pure sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide which is formed from the chemical building blocks of fructose and glucose. All forms of sugar, also including maltose and lactose besides sucrose, are converted by our bodies into glucose, which is a valuable source of energy. Sugar is therefore a valuable source of energy and new strength which organisms need, particularly after physical exercise.
Sugar – a cause of obesity?
Sugar has no particular characteristics which justify labelling it as a primary cause of obesity. On the contrary: The conversion of carbohydrates, and therefore also sugar, into body fat is a process which requires more energy than the conversion of fats from food into body fat. The only people who become fat are those who eat too much as a whole and who take too little exercise. One gram of sugar has the same number of calories as one gram of protein, i. e. 4 kcal, and therefore less than half that of one gram of fat (9 kcal). A sugar cube, for example, doesn’t have more than 15 kcal (63 kJ).
Sugar and caries
It is not sugar but a lack of oral hygiene which is responsible for tooth decay (caries)! All carbohydrates, regardless of whether from apples, bread or rice, encourage the formation of acid in the mouth. The type of carbohydrates plays a less important role in the formation of caries than the frequency carbohydrates are consumed and how long these carbohydrates are in contact with the teeth. If you clean your teeth regularly (that means at least twice a day) with toothpaste containing fluoride, you can avoid tooth problems.
Sugar and nutrients
The key is combination. Sugar exists almost exclusively of pure sucrose, which is why it is often – inaccurately – regarded as being a supplier of ‘empty’ calories and a vitamin killer. However: Sugar is not consumed in isolation. It is used as a sweetener in combination with other foodstuffs. The concern that sugar doesn’t provide any other nutrients such as vitamins or minerals is therefore unwarranted. In fact: The sweetness provided by sugar makes many other nutrient-rich but otherwise tasteless foodstuffs more palatable.
Is brown sugar healthier than white sugar?
Brown sugar may look healthier and more natural than white sugar, but this is not the case from a health perspective. Brown sugar is essentially white sugar to which syrup residues are still attached. While white sugar is crystallised several times and purified with water, brown sugar from sugar beet gets its colour from and its distinctive taste through the addition of raw sugar syrup and caramelised crystallised sugar. Brown cane sugar, on the other hand, is only partially refined, as a result of which it retains its brown colour and the typical taste of cane sugar.
Does Sugar Cause Diabetes?
People who often eat sweet foods do not automatically become diabetics. Diabetes, more specifically type 2 diabetes, is one of the most common lifestyle diseases of our times. People who are overweight and do little exercise have a significantly higher risk of developing this form of diabetes. Genetic factors, however, may also play a certain role.
According to the Austrian Diabetes Association1, the most effective means of preventing type 2 diabetes is a change in diet and physical activity. Diabetics can source between 45 and 60 % of their entire energy requirements in the form of carbohydrates. Preference should be given to vegetables, wholemeal products, pulses and fruit.
A complete avoidance of sucrose is no longer recommended but your sugar intake should not exceed 10 % of your diet. This is in line with the current WHO guideline (recommendation: 50g, restricted recommendation: 25g)2
1 Diabetes Mellitus, Practical Guidelines 2016
2 World Health Organization (2015): Sugar intake for adults and children