This is what a dietitian has to say about sugar being bad for you

Expert advice: Is sugar really bad for you?

Dietitian Sylven Masoga addresses some of the misconceptions we have about sugar...

Sugar/ iStock

We have all heard the saying that sugar is bad for you. Just how true is this statement? 

Dietitian Sylven Masoga says it is important to first understand that there are different types of sugar. There is glucose, fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar), and lactose (dairy sugar). 

"Sugar is not bad," says Dietitian Sylven Masoga. 

He says what makes sugar unhealthy is how you use it, or rather excess consumption of it. 

"The only time sugar can be dangerous to one's health is when it's taken above the recommended percentage," says Dietitian Masoga. 

In terms of sugar intake, Masoga says people should be guided by their permitted total carbohydrate intake because sugar is also considered a carbohydrate. 

READ: #90DaysWithoutSugar - Why excess sugar intake is bad for your health 

He says the total carbohydrate intake is unique to each individual and depends on the weight of the person. He advises consulting a dietitian to know your exact recommended carbohydrate intake. 

Very Well Fit highlights the following stats: 

- Start by determining your daily calorie need and divide that number in half. That's how many calories should come from carbohydrates.

- Each gram of carbohydrate has four calories. Divide the number you got from the first step by four.

- The final number is equal to the number of carbohydrates in grams you need each day.

 Experts recommend that 45–65% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. 

Dietitian Masoga says the recommended amount of sugar one should have is limited to a maximum of ten percent of their total carbohydrate intake.  

"Only when you take it above ten percent, it becomes bad. If you take it within recommendation, which is ten percent or less of your total carbohydrate, then sugar is fine," says Masoga. 

"When you eat more than the recommended amount, the body converts the sugar into triglycerides which are fats." 

Masoga warns that when those triglycerides are increased in your body, they can cause other health problems such as blocking valves of the heart and disrupting blood flow. 

Lastly, Masoga warns against the misconception that sugar causes sugar diabetes. 

"Sugar does not cause sugar diabetes," says Masoga. 

He says diabetes is caused by the failure of the pancreas to process carbohydrates. But he warns that if you suffer from diabetes and consume sugar, it increases or worsens the condition. 

READ: These breakfast cereals have the highest sugar content in SA

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Image courtesy of iStock/@OcusFocus

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