Society must awake to sugar hazard: experts

Brenden Liezert 
Life Reporter 

As the season to be jolly rolls, you may want to watch your sweet tooth.

According to a study by the American Journal of Public Health, drinking a cup of soda once a day resulted in chromosomal changes in 5,309 people. The 250mL of soda can accelerate aging five years, according to the findings.

Our society needs to wake up when it comes to consumption of sugar, said Patty O’Reilly, a certified personal trainer, nutrition and wellness specialist and owner/operator of Conquer the Unhealthy You, a 12-week diet and fitness program.   O’Reilly has been featured on CTV Morning Live twice and has been working in the fitness and sports supplement industries for over 10 years.

“Less is more,” said O’Reilly.

O’Reilly is a dedicated advocate of educating society on the effects of sugar. A lot of sodas come in a “diet” variety, which may sound like a great alternative when one cup of regular Pepsi contains 120 calories and almost 30 grams, or about eight teaspoons of sugar, she said. Yet diet drinks aren’t good for health either, she noted, especially since a common replacement for caloric-dense sugar is aspartame, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

“(Too much) sugar is bad for our body, aspartame is bad for our brain,” said O’Reilly.

We have to be really specific when it comes to sugar intake, said Kyle Byron, a Toronto online training and diet coach, personal trainer and nutritionist. Byron also agrees with O’Reilly on aspartame, noting that studies have shown it leads to neurological damage.

Online clients of Byron’s have given testimonial to their success under his tutelage on sugar. A lot of healthy foods have sugar too, Byron noted.

“It’s all about dosage. A glass of juice has 25 grams of sugar, but we would have to eat 10 cups of broccoli to get that much sugar,” he said..

Although sugar is calorically dense, at one gram of sugar providing four calories, Byron stressed that sugar isn’t the worst enemy of a calorie-counter. Fat clocks in at 9 calories per gram and alcohol is closely behind at 7 calories per gram. Unless you have a health issue related to sugar level, it usually isn’t your biggest adversary in terms of dieting, said Byron.

“Try to understand sugar before you start obsessing over it,” he said.

Kimberly Viveiros, 20, first-year tourism management student at Humber College, said she doesn’t monitor her sugar intake. She lets herself indulge in sweets during the Halloween and Christmas seasons.

“I don’t watch it. I don’t have any major health concerns circling around sugar,” said Viveiros.

In contrast, Grace Esquega, 20, second-year business marketing student, said she is careful with her sugar intake. Since a lot of what she consumes has high sugar content as is, she doesn’t add any sugar to anything, she said.

“I think adding extra sugar is unnecessary,” said Esquega.

She also indulges a bit during the Halloween and Christmas seasons, Esquega said. As she has become older, she has limited the amount of holiday treats she has during the season.

“I’m becoming more health-conscious, I have more self-control,” said Esquega.


One Comment;

  1. Sweetener Council said:

    Aspartame is a great alternative to sugar for those looking for a sweet treat while avoiding extra calories, particularly during the holidays when we are bombarded with desserts and treats. Despite what this article says, aspartame is the most studied food additive in the world and has been proven safe for consumption by the general population, diabetics, pregnant and lactating women, and children. These safety evaluations have been done by several organizations and expert scientific groups around the world. Myths have been created linking aspartame to a number of diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and neurological disorders. Scientific experts and international organizations, including the Alzheimer’s Association, dismiss this myth as science does not support it. Aspartame is quickly broken down in the body into components found in the foods we eat every day, so whole aspartame will never reach the brain and therefore can’t cause neurological damage.