- Adults above 60 might benefit from an increase in their sugar levels
- Effect of sugar depends on the type and quantity of sugar consumed
- 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar in a day are fine
Sugar has always been viewed with the negative eye. In the world of health and fitness, it is the last thing a nutritionist would ask you to give your body. But is sugar all that bad? Does it not have any benefits at all? Well, a new research reveals something different; it says that there might be some benefits of sugar for the elderly. The research suggests that older adults, above the age of 60, might benefit from an increase in their sugar levels. Sugar can help them improve memory and can make them feel more motivated for performing tasks at full capacity. Besides this, high blood sugar can also help the elderly feel happier during a task. It motivates them to put in more effort and look for ways to work harder towards a task even if it seems impossible. For this research, the team gave a drink with a small amount of glucose to two groups of participants, young (18-27) and old (65-82). The rest were given drinks containing an artificial sweetener known as a placebo. Older adults who took glucose showed a more positive attitude and better memory as compared to the group which was given the artificial sweetener. These benefits of sugar, however, are limited to the elderly. Researchers noted that a short-term boost in the energy levels due to high blood sugar leads to this positive impact in the elderly. This heightened motivation makes adults feel more confident with good self-perception and better mood. However, more research is needed in order to establish how such factors affect cognitive health in the elderly.
Also read: Here's How Giving Up On Sugar Entirely Will Affect Your Body
Photo Credit: iStock
Nutritionist Pooja Malhotra says, "The effect of sugar on your health will depend upon the type of sugar and the amount of sugar you consume. If you are taking excess of sugar, it is not good for your health. Two to three teaspoons of sugar in a day is fine but again it depends on the form of sugar consumed. Adding little bit of sugar to your home-cooked food is fine. But most of the processed foods and packaged snacks bought from the market contain high amounts of sugar, and that too hidden sugars."
Photo Credit: iStock
Also read: What Is Demerara Sugar? Is It Better Than White Sugar
Here's a list of 4 misconceptions about sugar you need to stop believing.
1. Sugar is detrimental to health
It is easy to demonize sugar for its effects on health. It can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes and so much more. However, if sugar is eaten in limited quantities and of course in the unrefined form, it might not harm your health to such an extent. Nutritionist Pooja Malhotra says, "If you add a little bit of sugar to your food, it might not mess with your health in serious ways. A person can function normally with just two teaspoons of sugar in a day."
Also read: Here's Why Coconut Sugar Is A Healthy Substitute For White Sugar
2. Sugar-free is better
Sugar is not good; however, sugar-free isn't better either. Sugar-free foods are usually sweetened with zero-calorie artificial sweeteners which would not do well to your health. Sugar-free might sound synonymous with weight-loss friendly food, but it is not. Such foods are loaded with artificial sweeteners and hidden sugars which in no way is better than regular white sugar. The natural and unrefined options of sugar like brown sugar are much safer.
3. Sugar can make you fat and sick
Sugar does not make you sick if eaten in the right proportions and in the unrefined form. What we do is we go overboard on sugary foods which are high in calories. This makes us fat and may even increase the risk of obesity and the health problems which stem from it. Sugar is not the only ingredient in such foods which could makes you fat, other ingredients in sugary foods also contribute to your calorie intake. So blaming sugar entirely is not quite feasible.
Also read: Replace Sugar Today With These Top 5 Healthy Sweeteners
4. Sugar has no nutritional value
Sugar has been showcased as an empty calorie food with zero nutritional value. That's not true. Sugar is a source of carbs which the human body needs for energy. Natural and unrefined varieties of sugar like demerara sugar and brown sugar do have some minerals. However, Pooja recommends people to not rely on these options for such minerals.
(Pooja Malhotra is a city-based nutritionist)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.