Read on to separate the myths from the facts.
In comparison with white sugar, brown sugar contains additional minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron. While this makes brown sugar seems like a healthier option, both types of sugar contain the same amount of calories.
As for the additional minerals, according to
The New York Times, the difference is so miniscule that there’s no real health benefit to baking with brown sugar. So while brown sugar enhances the taste of baked products and gives a nice caramelised sheen, it wouldn’t be a healthier option when it comes to calories!
Eat that cake in moderation — brown sugar or not!
Verdict: Myth! Both brown and white sugars contain the same calories so consume both in moderation.
The Not-So-Sweet Truth about Sugar
Honey is a natural source, sold either raw or pasteurised. Its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties — which are not present in table sugar — are well documented. Though honey can contain other minerals and benefits, it is still sugar and contains similar calories to sugar.
Thus, honey needs to be consumed in moderation. Reduce the sugar or honey you are adding to your hot beverages by half. For a lower calorie and lower sugar option, you can go for natural maple syrup which has about 25% less (natural) sugar than honey and refined white sugar. If you want a zero-calorie option, add sweeteners or dried stevia leaves to your cuppa instead.
Verdict: Fact, but both honey and sugar still have similar calories so consume both in moderation.
Having a meal and feeling thirsty, but not sure which drink to pick? A soda or a fruit juice? While fruit juices contain more nutrients than soda, they may still contain a substantial amount of sugar. That can of soda may contain 7 teaspoons of sugar, but… (drum roll), a packaged fruit juice drink has 6.5, while fresh fruit juices contain
5 teaspoons of sugar! That’s half of the 10 teaspoons of “free sugar” (sugar added to foods or naturally present in honey and fruit juices) limit recommended by the World Health Organisation.
Dr Annie Ling, director of HPB’s Obesity Prevention Division, said in
The Straits Times: “We apply the same allowance for sugar-sweetened drinks to fruit juices — no more than one glass a day.” So if you must — go for the fresh fruit juice that’s marginally healthier but stick to just one glass. Also, look out for packaged drinks with the
Healthier Choice Symbol.
Verdict: Fact, but it isn’t better by a great margin. Have no more than one glass of fruit juice per day.
Healthy vs Hype
My Healthy Plate, we should have at least half a plate of fruits and veggies at every meal.
Could we replace the fruits with a fruit juice instead? According to TIME , it’s better to stick to the whole fruit as a whole orange can give us 2.3g of dietary fibre and 9g of sugar while a glass of orange juice has just 0.1g of dietary fibre and a sugar load of 20.8g!
Professor Barry Hopkins, at the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, told The Guardian that research shows that “we feel full from drinking beverages like smoothies but it does not affect our overall food intake, whereas eating an orange does. So pulped-up smoothies do nothing good for us but do give us the same amount of sugar as four to six oranges or a large Coke.”
If cutting up a whole papaya or watermelon is too much trouble, try smaller fruits like pears, apples, or plums that can be eaten with their peel — as these give you an extra shot of dietary fiber that could help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Verdict: Myth. Having fruit over fruit juice means you get more vitamins, minerals, and fibre!
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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