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Sugar 101

All you need to know about this tempting treat.

by: Tandi Matoti-Mvalo | 05 Nov 2009

Does sugar make me fat?

Because sugar is high in energy (it is a carbohydrate) it is important we use up the energy in the form of activity. Sugar taken in moderation cannot lead to weight gain. But if you eat sugar or foods that contain lots of sugar and you don't exercise or do any other activities, you are likely to gain weight. Activity includes the body's natural processes, and everyday actions such as bathing, walking and cleaning, as well as exercise. If we do not use up this energy it can result in weight gain. Too much sugar can also cause problems with the teeth, especially in children.

I'm a sugar addict

Although some people can have a sweet tooth, which means they enjoy eating sugary substances, they cannot be addicted to sugar. Addiction is a physical dependence on a substance like alcohol and drugs. Most of us prefer to eat sweet things from birth.

Too much sugar lead to diabetes?

Diabetes is a complex disease caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. Eating too much sugar is not the cause of diabetes. Many people believe that eating sugary substances leads to this disease because it is characterised by high levels of blood sugar (glucose). Consuming lots of sugar is certainly dangerous for diabetics, who must limit their sugar intake. But sugar alone doesn't cause this disorder.

Are honey and brown sugar healthier than white sugar?

Honey has no special health benefits. In fact, honey is a sweeter (it has a higher concentration of sucrose than sugar) and it is more expensive! Honey raises blood sugar more than regular sugar, according to the website Most people believe that brown sugar is a healthier option than white sugar. You might believe it is healthier because of its colour. In reality, it is not healthier. The majority of brown sugar available in this country is simply refined white sugar to which molasses has been added to change its colour.

Can one avoid sugar?

Stop adding sugar to tea and coffee, stop drinking soft drinks, milkshake powders, and don't eat food with a high sugar content such as cakes, biscuits, jellies, canned fruit and ice cream. Read the food labels and look for the terms sucrose, fructose and glucose, which are all types of sugar.

Sugar is used in interesting ways:

  • It slows the setting of cement and glues
  • It is used in leather tanning
  • It is an ingredient in printers' inks
  • It is used in the textile industry for sizing and finishing fabrics

5 things to do with sugar


Marbled marshmallows

Toffee apples

Turkish delight

Microwaved fudge


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