Minimally Processed Or Natural Sugars Are Better For You
Its true that minimally processed sweeteners, like honey or maple syrup, contain more nutrients than highly processed ones, like white sugar. But the amounts of these nutrients are teeny tiny, so they probably wont have a measurable impact on your health. To your body, all sources of sugar are the same.
Whats more, these natural sweeteners dont get any kind of special treatment in your body. The digestive tract breaks down all sources of sugar into simple sugars called monosaccharides.
Your body has no idea if it came from table sugar, honey, or agave nectar. It simply sees monosaccharide sugar molecules, explains Amy Goodson, MS, RD. And all of these sugars deliver 4 calories per gram, so they all have the same impact on your weight.
Sugar Ingredients To Avoid
Added sugars can fall under all sorts of different names on ingredient labels. While its currently nearly impossible to tell the percentage of sugar comes from natural or added sources right now, better labeling is right around the corner. By mid-2018, we should expected to see an Added Sugar line on the Nutrition Facts label.
One rule of thumb to find these hidden sugars is that any ingredient ending in ose is a type of sugar.
Dont be fooled by more natural-sounding names either. Sweeteners like cane juice, beet sugar, fruit juice, rice syrup and molasses are still types of sugar. Check out their place in the ingredients, list, too. The higher up an ingredient is on the list, the more of it is included in a product.
Other names for added sugar include:
- Anhydrous dextrose
- Pancake syrup
- White granulated sugar
May Increase Your Risk Of Cancer
Eating excessive amounts of sugar may increase your risk of developing certain cancers.
First, a diet rich in sugary foods and beverages can lead to obesity, which significantly raises your risk of cancer .
Furthermore, diets high in sugar increase inflammation in your body and may cause insulin resistance, both of which increase cancer risk .
A study in over 430,000 people found that added sugar consumption was positively associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer, pleural cancer and cancer of the small intestine .
Another study showed that women who consumed sweet buns and cookies more than three times per week were 1.42 times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than women who consumed these foods less than 0.5 times per week .
Research on the link between added sugar intake and cancer is ongoing, and more studies are needed to fully understand this complex relationship.
Too much sugar can lead to obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for cancer.
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People Who Consumed 25% Or More Of Calories As Added Sugar Were More Than Twice As Likely To Die From Heart Disease
For one, its said to cause heart disease. When liver cells break down fructose, one of the end products is triglyceride a form of fat which can build up in liver cells over time. When it is released into the bloodstream, it can contribute to the growth of fat-filled plaque inside artery walls.
Fructose, which naturally occurs in fruit and is a key component of high-fructose corn syrup, can contribute to the growth of plaque in arteries
One 15-year study seemed to back this up: it found that people who consumed 25% or more of their daily calories as added sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than those who consumed less than 10%. Type 2 diabetes also is attributed to added sugar intake. Two large studies in the 1990s found that women who consumed more than one soft drink or fruit juice per day were twice as likely to develop diabetes as those who rarely did so.
But again, its unclear if that means sugar actually causes heart disease or diabetes. Luc Tappy, professor of physiology at the University of Lausanne, is one of many scientists who argue that the main cause of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure is excess calorie intake, and that sugar is simply one component of this.
Many scientists believe that sugar alone doesnt cause obesity but that, instead, sugar often is part of a diet with too high of a calorie intake in general
Fruit Juice And Smoothies
Dr Roxburgh said it can be easy to over indulge when it comes to fruit juices and smoothies – meaning you are packing in extra sugar and calories which can lead to both glucose spikes and weight gain.
She explained: “Fruit juice and smoothies should be avoided as they can put blood sugar up very quickly.
“Fruit in general can be consumed and I would never recommend excluding any fruit totally because of the nutritional value that fruit contains, however, there are certain fruits that I would recommend over others for someone with type 2 diabetes.
“For example, berries or an apple rather than pineapple, oranges or bananas. Tinned fruit, however, I would avoid as it is kept in a high-sugar syrup.”
Healthy smoothies can sometimes have just as much sugar as fizzy drinks in them – even though the sugars are natural these can contribute to weight gain.
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Dont Just Cut Carbs From Your Diet
Carbohydrates, along with fats and protein, are three essential macronutrients that the body needs to function.
Carbohydrates are the human bodys main source of energy, yet, they are also blamed for the rise in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. But there are distinct differences between the different carbohydrates we consume.
In fact, its processed and refined carbs which have given all carbohydrates a bad reputation. Refined carbs and processed foods with high amounts of added sugar have had all their fiber and essential nutrients taken away.
Therefore, they can be broken down into glucose and released quickly into the bloodstream. The quick release means there is a spike in blood sugar levels, and you may even feel hungry again a short while after consuming them.
Photo by Patrick Fore / UnsplashRefined sugars are designed to appeal to your eyes, not to your health
Carbohydrates are a broad category of macronutrients. Rather than just eliminating all of them from your diet, think about both the quality and quantity of the carbohydrates you consume.
There is no doubt that cutting or reducing added sugar from the diet is highly beneficial, but the same cannot be said for the fiber and nutrients some complex carbohydrates provide, like fiber, polyphenols, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Equally, replacing carbohydrates with other macronutrients, such as protein or fats, can negatively impact the function of your brain .
Big Lies About Sugar We Should Unlearn
There are a few things we can all say for sure about sugar. Number one, it tastes great. And number two? Its really, really confusing.
While we can all agree that sugar isnt exactly a health food, theres a lot of misinformation about how sweet stuff should factor into your diet if at all. For instance, are some types of sugar healthier than others? And will cutting it out really put you on the fast track to losing weight, easing acne, staving off mood swings, or any other health woes?
Turns out, the answers might not be what you think. Heres a look at eight things even nutrition-savvy people may not realize about sugar and what you should know about fitting it into your diet.
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Can Lead To Fatty Liver
A high intake of fructose has been consistently linked to an increased risk of fatty liver.
Unlike glucose and other types of sugar, which are taken up by many cells throughout the body, fructose is almost exclusively broken down by the liver.
In the liver, fructose is converted into energy or stored as glycogen.
However, the liver can only store so much glycogen before excess amounts are turned into fat.
Large amounts of added sugar in the form of fructose overload your liver, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease , a condition characterized by excessive fat buildup in the liver .
A study in over 5,900 adults showed that people who drank sugar-sweetened beverages daily had a 56% higher risk of developing NAFLD, compared to people who did not .
Eating too much sugar may lead to NAFLD, a condition in which excessive fat builds up in the liver.
Tips To Curb Your Sweet Tooth
If youre ready to take your health to the next level and avoid the detrimental effects of added sugar, consider these strategies:
1. Watch for hidden sugar.
Get to know the many words for sugar. Added sugars have different names such as: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and turbinado sugar, just to name a few.
Become a nutritional label sleuth. First, check the ingredient list. The higher up sugars are on the list, the more added sugars there are in the product. Next, look for the added sugar line on food packages to make sure youre within an appropriate range as to not exceed your daily totalless than 10 percent of caloric intake from sugar.
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What Sugar Is Best For Your Face
White sugar is the best for use on your face. The smaller particles make sugar easier on the delicate skin on your face. When you use a sugar scrub on your face you still want to be very gentle.
Simply rub with your hands in small gentle circles without applying much pressure and let the sugar do its job. You dont need to let it dissolve first either. Just rub it on, and off, and youre done! How nice is that!
SAFETY NOTE: If you plan to use it on your face, people with sensitive skin may want to leave the essentials oils out of the scrub recipe. Theres a chance they can be irritating.
When comparing sugar scrubs versus salt scrubs, you will find additional benefits to using a sugar scrub due to the sugar granules being a lot smaller than salt granules and dissolving faster, too.
This means that for sensitive skin, sugar is a much better choice than salt because you dont want to cause abrasions to your skin by being too harsh with it. Since the particles are smaller in sugar its the best choice for delicate skin when compared to salt that has larger particles and dissolves slower.
May Increase Your Risk Of Depression
While a healthy diet can help improve your mood, a diet high in added sugar and processed foods may increase your chances of developing depression.
Consuming a lot of processed foods, including high-sugar products such as cakes and sugary drinks, has been associated with a higher risk of depression .
Researchers believe that blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysregulation and inflammation may all be reasons for sugars detrimental impact on mental health .
A study following 8,000 people for 22 years showed that men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than men who ate less than 40 grams per day .
Another study in over 69,000 women demonstrated that those with the highest intakes of added sugars had a significantly greater risk of depression, compared to those with the lowest intakes .
A diet rich in added sugar and processed foods may increase depression risk in both men and women.
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Useful Resources For Cutting Down On Sugar:
This page was reviewed on 11th September 2020 by Tracey Raye.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
Whether you’re looking for sweet substitutes, sugar-free baking guides or simply want to find out your recommended daily amounts, find all the answers in our sugar hub.
All Artificial Sweeteners Are Not Created Equal
The FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. It has also approved one natural low-calorie sweetener, stevia. How the human body and brain respond to these sweeteners is very complex.
One concern is that people who use artificial sweeteners may replace the lost calories through other sources, possibly offsetting weight loss or health benefits, says Dr. Ludwig. This can happen because we like to fool ourselves: “Im drinking diet soda, so its okay to have cake.” The AHA and ADA also added this caveat to their recommendation.
Its also possible that these products change the way we taste food. “Non-nutritive sweeteners are far more potent than table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. A miniscule amount produces a sweet taste comparable to that of sugar, without comparable calories. Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes,” explains Dr. Ludwig. That means people who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find less intensely sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and unsweet foods, such as vegetables, downright unpalatable.
In other words, use of artificial sweeteners can make you shun healthy, filling, and highly nutritious foods while consuming more artificially flavored foods with less nutritional value.
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Tooth Decay And Sugar
Sugar is one of the main causes of tooth decay.
To prevent tooth decay, reduce the amount of food and drinks you have that contain free sugars such as sweets, chocolates, cakes, biscuits, sugary breakfast cereals, jams, honey, fruit smoothies and dried fruit and limit them to mealtimes.
The sugars found naturally in fruit and vegetables are less likely to cause tooth decay, because they’re contained within the structure.
But when fruit and vegetables are juiced or blended into a smoothie, the sugars are released. Once released, these sugars can damage teeth.
Limit the amount of fruit juice and smoothies you drink to a maximum of 150ml in total per day, and drink it with meals to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Squashes sweetened with sugar, fizzy drinks, soft drinks and juice drinks have no place in a child’s daily diet.
If you’re looking after children, swap any sugary drinks for water, lower-fat milk or sugar-free drinks.
Risks Of Added Sugars
Blood sugar that exceeds your immediate needs and your body storage capacity turns into stored fat. Therefore, adding sugar to food just tacks on calories that might contribute to weight gain from excess body fat. Adding table sugar to coffee or cereal, and regularly munching on foods such as candy, nondiet soda, syrups and other sweetened foods can crowd out more nutritious sources of calories from your diet.
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People With Diabetes Need Low Gi Foods
The glycaemic index is a useful tool for people with diabetes to help regulate their glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes need the glucose in their diet to be absorbed slowly. They need to eat foods with a low GI. At least one low GI food is recommended at each meal.The quantity of carbohydrate foods eaten will also affect blood glucose levels. Talk to your dietitian about the recommended quantities of carbohydrate-based foods you need.People respond differently to different foods, regardless of the foods glycaemic index. If you have diabetes, you will need to monitor your blood glucose levels regularly.
Your Mood Can Change Drastically If Your Body Is Hooked On Sugar And Suddenly You’re Going Without
Sugar releases the feel-good hormones â dopamine and serotonin â in the brain, activating your body’s reward system, Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health told INSIDER.
In other words, the more sugar you consume, the better you feel â at least, temporarily. When you stop eating sugar altogether, however, your body goes through withdrawal, and it’s not pleasant for your body or your brain.
“As you begin to cut back on sugar intake, the body begins to sense this, and you may feel cranky or irritable, especially in the first few days,” Glatter said.
Many people experience fatigue, headaches, or even a feeling of sadness or depression, he added, aka tell-tale signs that your body is adjusting to the now low levels of glucose, dopamine, and serotonin. “After a week or so, your energy will begin to improve, and you will feel more alive and less irritable.”
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The Shocking Truth About Sugar & Why Your Body Needs It
Is sugar really as bad as its cracked up to be?
Ive always had a sweet tooth – maybe you have too! Dessert, chocolate, fruits, and more – these were my snacking go-tos. But then, as I worked in the fitness and health industry, I heard all about how bad sugar is for you and how there was far too much of it in the modern Western diet.
So, I attempted to cut it out.
Not only did this send me on a rollercoaster involving moodiness, fatigue, and more, but I also ended up with epic food binges. Friday night would roll around, and Id find myself knee-deep in chocolate, ice cream, jujubes – all the junk stuff. The no-sugar thing didnt exactly work out well for me.
And I get it – there is no one-size-fits-all for health and diet. Yet, physiologically, we are all built relatively the same.
So, whats the deal? The truth?
Your body needs sugar. In this article, well dive into exactly why you need sugar, the benefits of it, and what kind of sugar you should be eating .