Recently, I asked the Sugar-Free Facebook group if they’d ever faced the problem of not getting support from the people around them – or had their choice to give up sugar viewed with suspicion or disbelief (“But we need sugar to live!). I asked how you all handle these kinds of situations; answers are collected in this post.

Here, I’d likely to directly address that declaration: “We need sugar to live!” Is it true?

Yes, we do need sugar to live!

That is, we do need large amounts of energy. First and foremost, sugar serves as fuel – and more precisely, we need glucose (simple sugar) for breathing, walking, and thinking. Glucose is our most important source of energy – our brain alone burns roughly 130–140 grams of glucose per day!

But …

This does NOT mean that we have to eats tons of refined white sugar and subsist on sweets and soft drinks! When we eat complex carbohydrates, our body also creates glucose on its own by separating the glucose from the polysaccharides (starches) – such as those found in vegetables and (pseudo-)grains, for example – in the intestine.

World Health Organization (WHO) Recommendations

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that no more than 5% of adults’ daily caloric intake should come from “free sugars” (monosaccharides and disaccharides) – for example, in the form of white sugar or processed fructose (e.g. “fructose-glucose syrup”), which are “added to foods or drinks by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrup, fruit juices, and fruit juice concentrates.” (Source: WHO)

“Non-free sugars,” on the other hand, are those naturally found in fruits or vegetables and in milk (lactose). According to the WHO, these are harmless. So we don’t need actually need white sugar, sweets, or soft drinks to survive. ;-) If you eat a balanced, healthy, and natural diet, you’re on the safe side.

Read more about the advantages of avoiding “free sugars” in this post. All info on the 40-Day Challenge can be found here.

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