Sugar is the enemy. That is what we are increasingly being told after academics warned that sugar has become as dangerous as alcohol and tobacco. Energy drinks, Fruit Juices and even our beloved morning tea/coffee are being blamed for the drop in our health standards. So what makes sugar so bad?

A high sugar diet has a number of adverse health effects. Sugar isn’t just white, one lump or two table sugar; sugar comes in many forms such as glucose, fructose, lactose and sucrose. Fruit, milk, honey, jam and maple syrup are all some of the sources of sugar in our diets.

These natural sugars can be addictive. French scientists in Bordeaux reported that in animal trials, rats chose sugar over cocaine (even when they were addicted to cocaine), so if you feel like you are craving a bit of sweetness you may be one of the world’s most common dependants: a sugar addict.

“I’ll just have no sugar in my cuppa then” might seem like an obvious course of action to cut down your daily intake of this highly addictive health hazard. But it is the hidden sugars in ready meals, and almost everything we eat that might be where we need to be more careful. Research papers connected fructose (in particular) to fatty liver disease, to appetite stimulation, and to gout, diabetes, memory loss and, of course, obesity.

So, as with most things in life, moderation is the key.

“Sugar is not bad for you as part of a balanced diet,” says dietitian Sylvia Turner. “It has an important role in providing flavour and texture to foods. Just remember, sugar contains calories but few nutrients, so eating too much added sugar and sugary food and drinks instead of other healthy foods can make your diet less nutritious.”