A major thrust of the (Singapore’s) Ministry of Health in mitigating diabetes currently is sugar restriction – on a national scale. [Footnote 3 – Diabetes: The War Continues. (22 Aug 2017). Press Release.]
Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is a key area of focus in reducing sugar consumption among Singaporeans. This is because 60% of our total sugar intake comes from sugary beverages such as soft drinks, juices, coffees and teas, with the remaining made up by sugar from foods (e.g. cakes, desserts, and confectionaries). Singaporeans, on average, currently consume more than 1,500 teaspoons of sugar from pre-packaged SSBs annually
[It is heartening nevertheless that the same article describes other areas being targeted. (“Besides reducing sugar intake, overall dietary improvement forms an important part in the development of healthy lifestyle habits.“)]
Yet how much blame should sugar take? The Food Detectives vs. Diabetes (televeision programme hosted by Nikki Muller) in Episode 1 showed us a doctor (Dr Goh, “an endocrine specialist” – Saint-Julien Clinic)* who stated: “Sugar doesn’t really cause diabetes per se…” [my transcription; per se means: by or of itself – Cambridge Dictionary]
Likewise, you have the American Diabetes Association explaining via Diabetes Myths (5 Jul 2017):
Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: The answer is not so simple. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain. Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes.
Then Chinese source, 糖尿病防治100分 (2013, Beijing: 电子工业出版社) by Li Ruihua (李瑞华) wrote on p.9 that diabetes is not caused by eating excessive sugar. [my translation]
Rather contradictory to the three sources above is the piece from Erin Digitale for Stanford University’s School of Medicine entitled Quantity of sugar in food supply linked to diabetes rates, researcher says (27 Feb 2013). Marion Nestle, New York University professor of nutrition, food studies and public health (see her World Health Organisation bio) was quoted therein:
“How much circumstantial evidence do you need before you take action? At this point we have enough circumstantial evidence to advise people to keep their sugar a lot lower than it normally is.”
Related issue: Digestion
Difficult to digest low glycemic index (GI) complex carbohydrates may over the long term cause stomach/gastrointestinal ailments or challenges (in spite of their sugar managing benefits). On a similar note, the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research and Gastrointestinal Society of Canada refers to a condition called Complex Carbohydrate Intolerance (CCI). [Intestinal Gas from Complex Carbohydrates or Lactose Intolerance. (published January/February 2001. Inside Tract® newsletter issue 123). Accessed 12 Dec 2017.] Thus, we need to look at each person’s situation holistically.
*Video link on Toggle. [It was uploaded in Oct 2017.]
(2016). 好人养好胃. Nanjing. 江苏凤凰科学技术出版社. Tang Xudong (唐旭東, Editor). See an introduction on this gastrointestinal doctor from The Chinese University of Hong Kong from 2016. (It seems in sync with the brief provided by the book jacket.)
“…table sugar, a simple carb, is digested more quickly than steel-cut oats, but more slowly than whole wheat bread… low glycemic complex carbs, but digestion will occur over a longer period of time compared to high glycemic complex carbs.” Aglaée Jacob. How Long Do Complex Carbs Take to Digest? [The author was trained in Nutrition from Laval University in Québec City, Canada.]