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Is sugar
toxic?

The concern

‘Toxic’ things are usually poisonous or even deadly – so we understand why this question is a cause for concern!

Reassuringly we are not aware of any evidence to support claims that sugar can be ‘toxic’.

And there is no evidence to suggest Australians are consuming ‘toxic’ levels of sugar in their diets.

Fructose

Searches for ‘sugar and toxicity’ often find references to studies on fructose.

Sugar’s scientific name is sucrose, which describes a glucose molecule attached to a fructose molecule.

On its own, fructose is nearly twice as sweet and provides fewer kilojoules per gram than sucrose.

Some scientific rat studies raised concerns about the way the liver digested a fructose diet. However, the studies involved very high levels of fructose – far higher than a human would be able to eat in normal circumstances. For more details see here

Healthy eating

Humans have been consuming sugar and foods containing sugar for centuries. And scientists have also been studying the role and the safety of different types of sugars in our food and drinks for almost as long.

The key to feeling in control is to keep track of all the food and drinks we consume on a daily basis to make sure there is a balance of energy, proteins, nutrients, vitamins, minerals and water needed to thrive. That includes not consuming too much of any one thing, including sugar and keeping as active as we are able.

The Australian Government’s Dietary Guidelines support this. They include the advice that there’s no need to cut out whole categories of food or drinks completely, including those that contain sugar.

Keen to find out more? See our Resources page