Which says sugar free, but really not

Is it really healthier to live “sugar-free”?

From STYLEBOOK | March 21, 2017, 10:51 a.m.

Glucose syrup, fructose, maltose or sucrose - sugar has many names. Sounds unhealthy, but is it really?

The enemy is not just in muffins or chocolate. It also lurks where hardly anyone suspects it. In vinegar and sausage bread, for example. A number of authors and bloggers are currently warning against this, the keyword #Sugarfree is running through the social networks. Sugary food is sometimes declared a drug, life without experimenting with yourself. Instead of jam, there is fresh-grain porridge, instead of household sugar, substitute sweetness with names like erythritol finds its way into the cheesecake. The next big hype after vegan, lactose and gluten free? Experts take a critical view of this if one is not currently suffering from diabetes.

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Is there any point in eating sugar-free?

The new wave of sugar opponents is about more than tooth decay. In connection with doing without, they bring a radiant complexion, fewer wrinkles, shedding pounds, more sense of taste and the ability to concentrate. "It was a new life," said the presenter Anastasia Zampounidis (48) in a talk show last year, ten years after switching to sugar-free food. Before that, she was an addict, she said. Women's magazines pounced on the subject, because the presenter was by no means showing her age. Can that really be because of the fact that no sugar is used?

Advertisement: Here are some recipe ideas for everyone who wants to try to forego sugar!

“Sugar is not overly healthy, and if we eat a lot of it, it has negative effects on the metabolism. But there are no data on effects on beauty, ”says the endocrinologist Andreas Pfeiffer from the German Institute for Nutritional Research in Potsdam and the Charité Berlin. Negative consequences particularly affect already fat people. In healthy slim people, a harmful effect is very, very difficult to prove. There is little data on the dose and effect of sugar; experiments on mice cannot be transferred 1: 1 to humans. “Leaving out sugar essentially has the effect of making you less fat if you tend to be fat,” says Pfeiffer.

Sugar-free becomes a challenge

No sugar, this is also part of diets such as clean eating (modern whole foods) and the Stone Age diet paleo. What is usually meant is the abandonment of industrial sugar and finished products that contain sugar in the form of glucose-fructose syrup. In some cases, lower-calorie sweeteners are served on the plate instead. Strictly speaking, a sugar-free diet would also be free of carbohydrates and goods that naturally contain sugar, such as fruits, vegetables and milk. “Sugar-free” is marketed with a lot of English (“clean lifestyle attitude to life with countless feel-good-and-be-happy moments”, from a book description). Who else is talking about diet? Today it's about the "Challenge", a challenge. Behind this is the well-known: a diet plan over several weeks that has to be maintained. Photos show women with green smoothies and fruit baskets. One advisor writes in advance in a friend-like tone: "I am not a scientist, but a human guinea pig."

With beautiful packaging, laypeople can quickly be seduced into matters of food, says nutritionist Gabriele Kaufmann from the Federal Center for Nutrition. It is clear to her: “It doesn't have to be completely sugar-free.” With a view to healthy people who avoid gluten, for example, she emphasizes: “There are no wrong foods, just the wrong use of them.” That means: too much, too one-sided Eat. Kaufmann even warns that the metabolism can get out of step with dietary changes without professional advice. Yo-yo effect after the "challenge" may be included. Antje Gahl, spokeswoman for the German Nutrition Society (DGE), is also skeptical when it comes to switching to sweeteners: These are often expensive and should be used in moderation. True, they would be considered safe. A reassessment will not be completed until 2020.

Is Sugar an Addictive Substance?

Something like the pope of sugar abstainers is Robert Lustig of the University of California. The doctor, who has an audience of millions on YouTube, accused the US food industry years ago of hiding “poison” in food - in the form of sugar syrup made from corn, which contains a lot of fructose, which is poor in metabolism. This cheap sweetness is found in sodas, bread and ready-made meals and has become a staple food. For Lustig the cause of obesity and diseases like diabetes in the US.

According to researcher Andreas Pfeiffer, it is fun to assume that you consume a lot of sugar. Regardless of the fact that corn syrup has not yet been processed in Germany, the combination of sugar and fat in baked goods is "rather toxic" for him. And of course there are too many too sweet, attractive products on the market, especially lemonades. “That is a huge problem. People just eat very unhealthily, ”says Pfeiffer. However, he finds it problematic to call sugar an addictive substance. He sees a strong desire for it rooted in the psyche and learned habits. It starts in childhood - when there are sweets as a reward.

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