Nutrition

Sugar, The Dark Side of Sweet


A_little_sugar_in_my_bowl

Source

Sugars. They’re almost as vilified as carbs anymore when you talk to somebody about nutrients to avoid. This is just like any other nutrient there is good and bad to it.

The reason it is so bad is because people consume way too much sugar now. It is literally everywhere, it works as a great food preservative so you see it added into just about anything you consume. The recommended daily amount of sugar is supposed to be around 25 grams a day which comes out to be about 6 teaspoons. In retrospect a tablespoon of ketchup has one teaspoon of sugar in it.

There’s two main types of sugar, added sugar and naturally occurring sugar which is what you find in milk as lactose, or in fruits as fructose.

  • · Refined and added sugars – are in just about everything and have empty calories. This means you don’t get any nutritional benefits from consuming them and they have a high rate of metabolism. Your body breaks sugar down quickly and if it doesn’t get used immediately, it gets stored as fat. The fast break down is also what causes the sugar spike when you consume many foods that have a lot of sugar in it like candy.
  • · Fruit sugars – found in fruits, are naturally occurring and unlike refined sugars, do not have empty calories. They have various nutrients that are required for the human body to function properly. Fruit usually has a good amount of fiber in it so the sugars that are in the fruit break down a lot slower than refined sugar does. This means no sugar spikes and crashes and a more maintained blood sugar level.

Health risks of too much refined sugar – increases your risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. It also increases your chances of high blood pressure developing, can lead to obesity and elevated blood triglycerides. It is also widely known to cause cavities and tooth decay because the coating that sugar leaves on your teeth it is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Artificial sweeteners. Often times when people try to limit sugar intake they do so by turning to artificial sweeteners instead of regular sugar. This is not better. Just the title artificial sweetener should stand out to you here. The fact that it is not natural is not something you really want to be consuming. If you’re going to cut out sugar, you don’t want to replace it with something that is made in a lab the best thing to do would just be to make sure you’re watching the sugar count as a foods that you’re consuming and eat some more fruit says they have natural sugars in them.

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On the hunt – Sugar hides on labels pretty well. Just because it doesn’t say sugar flat out doesn’t mean is not contained in there looking the ingredients for anything ending in ‘ose’ that right there, is sugar.

Teaspoon image

By Umberto Salvagnin [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Equal packets By Sunbeamprowce (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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