Sugar - a harmless indulgence?

Lone Banke Rasmussen, Niels Lyhne Andersen, L. Ovesen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The consumption of sugar is relatively high in Denmark - and other industrial countries - and many persons have a consumption which exceeds the recommended level of maximally 10% of energy intake. A high sugar consumption may reduce the nutrient density of the diet and increase the risk of vitamin and mineral deficiency, especially in low energy consumers. The sugar intake and the fat intake, expressed as percentage of energy, usually show an inverse association. This has lead to the statement that a diet with both a low sugar content and a low fat content is incompatible, but we will argue that this is not the fact. The significance of sugar for the development of obesity is not clarified. A high fat content in the diet seems to promote the development of obesity, while a high carbohydrate content tends to reduce obesity. It is not known if sugar in this connection is comparable to the other carbohydrates in the diet, primarily because of the high energy density of sugar. Diabetes mellitus and heart diseases do not seem to have any direct connection with a high sugar consumption. Sugar continues to be a risk factor for the development of caries. Further, it cannot be excluded that high sugar consumption is a risk factor for cancer in the gastrointestinal tract or for Crohn's disease. It seems reasonable to keep the current recommendations about sugar intake.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)253-264
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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