Last updated on April 12th, 2017
I don’t eat much sugar anymore, and I especially don’t drink sugar, but I don’t really see it as the root of all dietary evil, either. Just the root of some dietary evil. Perhaps most. Let’s face it. Except for all its calories, sugar is an empty sort of carbohydrate. So I was happy to see The World Health Organization (WHO) take a stand against gorging ourselves to death on sweets.
Granted, the stand is more belated than bold, but we have to take what we can get from main-stream health organizations.
The WHO has released updated guidelines for sugar consumption, urging everyone everywhere to limit their intake of so-called “free sugars” to between 5% and 10% of daily calories .
By “free sugars,” the WHO means any sugars “added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer” and also to sugars “naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.” But the term, and the limits, do not apply to “the sugars in fresh fruits and vegetables, and sugars naturally present in milk.”
Are the sugars in fruit, vegetables, and milk chemically different from the so-called “free sugars”? Do these “bound sugars” (to coin my own term) have a different affect on the human body? Do they not raise glucose in the body, causing the release of insulin?
According to the WHO, there is “no reported evidence of adverse effects of consuming these [bound] sugars.”
The sugars in an orange or a carrot or a glass of milk are bound to vitamins or minerals that are of some benefit. But you can get those vitamins and minerals other ways, without the sugar-load.
Once upon a time, I drank a small glass of OJ every morning, just before I ate a bowl of bran flakes with skim milk.
I haven’t drank OJ in almost four years, and yet I haven’t gotten scurvy. No loose teeth nor bleeding gums.
I suspect the WHO didn’t attack all sugars for the simple reason that it would be a very tough sell. I can see the headline now: “WHO attacks milk!”
The “free sugars” are an easier target.
Sugar isn’t free, but it’s a start.