Americans can find nutritional advice everywhere these days. Television, internet, smartphone apps, and yes, even still in print newspaper articles. But whatever the case may be, it seems consumers are hearing more and more doomsday advice about the dangers in food and they don’t know whether to never touch a certain food again or just quit trying to understand nutrition advice altogether. In short, they are needlessly confused about the most pleasant of subjects—the foods we eat and enjoy.
Certainly that is the case with sugars. Over the decades, sugar consumption has been studied extensively, especially in the current environment of increasing levels of obesity and chronic conditions like diabetes. To date, there is no conclusive evidence of a causative effect of sugars on chronic diseases, despite the fervent efforts of some to condemn it. Much more scientific research is needed before we can make an absolute statement about sugar and disease. In the meantime, it’s good to remember that dietary guidance to enjoy all things in moderation—including sugars—has stood the test of time.
To answer some questions about the role of sugars in a healthful diet, we’ve attached links to a few fact sheets, Q&As, and peer-reviewed articles that may clear up some of the confusion out there. We hope you will find the information interesting and useful and that you will visit our website, www.FoodInsight.org for more information on this topic and many other nutrition and food safety subjects.
"The Science of Sugars" was published in 2012 in consecutive issues of the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrition Today. All four articles in their final published version can be accessed from Nutrition Today's website. Read on for article descripitions and to access the final peer-reviewed manuscript(s) via the links below.
A Closer Look At Sugars
This first article examines the types of sugars, their functionality in foods, and the various words used to describe sweeteners. The article appeared in the May/June 2012 issue of Nutrition Today.
Sugars and a Healthful Diet
This part of the series addresses several potential sugars and health relationships, sugar consumption and nutritional quality of the diet, recommendations for sugars or added sugar intake, and the utility of the glycemic index and glycemic load. This article was published in the July/August 2012 issue of Nutrition Today.
Sugars and Chronic Disease Risks
This part of "The Science of Sugars" article series explores the relationship between sugars and diabetes, obesity, insulin resistance, sugar-sweetened beverages, satiety of liquids versus solids and cardiovascular health. The third part appeared in the September/October 2012 issue of Nutrition Today.
Sugars and Other Health Issues
This final part reviews the association between sugars and dental health, between sugars and cognitive function, and between sugars and physical activity. This article was published in the November/December 2012 of Nutrition Today.
Here are the facts about sugars to help you decide how to sensibly incorporate sugars into your diet.
This fact sheet explains what HFCS is, how it is made, and why it is used in foods.
This self-study module offers 1 hour of approved CPE credit for registered dietitians and dietetic technicians, registered.
This background paper contains information about the role of carbohydrates and sugars in the diet and provides the Institute of Medicine’s consumption recommendations.
This brochure answers questions you may have about sugars and their role in a healthful diet. The questions cover everything from why sugars are added to foods to how the body uses sugars.
This Q&A answers the questions you may have about fructose—everything from the differences in the way glucose and fructose are metabolized by the body to whether fructose has an effect on triglycerides in the body.
This consumer friendly piece examines how sugar affects your health.
Remarks by Experts