The Debate is Over! Sugar IS Bad

This New York Times post about ways to cut sugar from our diets recently came across my desk. It has practical tips for weeding out the sweet stuff, but it also signals a broader cultural shift: According to the paper of record, the debate over sugar is dead.

Eating tons of sugar is bad! And we know it! So what to do next?

Sugar is in everything and it makes us happy—for a moment. Then it's gone and we want more, which is why it is so bad. It's addictive and that's a fact.

One weight management doctor I worked with poignantly said, "All white powders are addictive to humans." I think he is right.

The article's author gives some reasonable suggestions about how to cut down on sugar consumption. I agree with many of these suggestions, but with caveats for those trying to lose weight.

First, I support the idea of keeping sugar intake to less than 50 grams a day. It's a good goal and I think it is appropriate—if weight loss is not the goal. If weight loss is the goal, however, than most people will see slower weight loss at 50 grams. I usually recommend no more than 20 grams of your total carbohydrate intake coming from sugar.

I personally find it helpful to avoid sugar first thing in the morning. I have better energy all day and fewer cravings in the afternoon and evening if I eat savory foods like eggs and bacon for breakfast instead, and I am not the only one. Many of my patients also report noticing the same thing.

Finally, I also like to taper my overall calorie intake throughout the day, but that is a post for another day.

Brandy Wiltermuth, ARNP