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What Type Of Sugar Is Healthy For You

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How Much Sugar Should I Eat

Which Type of Sugar Is Healthiest For You?

The amount of added sugar the average American eats on a daily basis stands in sharp contrast to the recommendation from the American Heart Association that women and children should eat no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugars per day, and men eat no more than 9 teaspoons per day.

For reference, there are more than 16 teaspoons of added sugars in one 20-ounce bottle of soda/pop.

Flammability And Heat Response

Because sugars burn easily when exposed to flame, the handling of sugars risks dust explosion. The risk of explosion is higher when the sugar has been milled to superfine texture, such as for use in chewing gum. The 2008 Georgia sugar refinery explosion, which killed 14 people and injured 36, and destroyed most of the refinery, was caused by the ignition of sugar dust.

In its culinary use, exposing sugar to heat causes caramelization. As the process occurs, volatile chemicals such as diacetyl are released, producing the characteristic caramel flavor.

Sugar Alternatives To Try

Is sugar your dietary weakness? Many people crave it. But even if you dont necessarily have a sweet tooth, it can be tough to avoid sugar altogether. Nearly everything contains added sugar from soda and other sweetened drinks to almost all processed foods.

Fortunately, a wide range of sugar substitutes and sweeteners both natural and artificial are available to help reduce the amount of table sugar in your diet. Limiting sugar intake is especially important for older adults.

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The Health Costs Of Sugar

Sugar sweetens, preserves, and enhances the flavor of food. This makes it hard to avoid and resist, but the health benefits of reducing your sugar intake are clear.

A diet high in sugar has been associated with a wide range of health conditions, either directly through its effect on the body or indirectly due to complications from obesity. Excessive sugar consumption may lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Poor nutrition absorption, high triglyceride levels, and tooth decay are all related to high sugar intake. It has also been linked to poor cognitive function, affecting memory and increasing the risk of dementia.

Why Is Sugar Added To So Many Foods

Which Type of Sugar Is Healthiest For You?

Sugar sweetens food, making it more attractive to our taste buds. Humans have a natural preference for sweetness, so food producers tend to add sugars to various foods to make them more appealing to consumers.

Other reasons for adding sugar include preserving foods and maintaining and/or improving texture, color, and other functional characteristics.

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How To Calculate Sugar On Food Labels:

The Food and Drug Administration recently did a much needed update to the traditional nutrition facts label box that you see on foods and beverages. One of the main changes to the label is that both total sugars and added sugars are now listed.

Total sugars includes both added sugars and natural sugars together, whereas the added sugar value underneath depicts the amount of sugar that has been added to the product which is the type we should try to limit. Since added sugars are part of the total sugar count, they can never exceed the total sugar number.

Many dairy products, like yogurt for example, contain natural sugars but often have significant amounts of added caloric sweeteners incorporated for flavor. If you want to calculate the amount of natural sugars in a food or beverage, simply subtract the added sugar number from the total sugar value. And remember that the ingredients list on any food panel goes by weight. If a food lists added sugar as the first ingredient, it’s likely to have poor nutritional value and may be calorically dense.

Natural Sweeteners That Are Good For Your Health

Reducing your intake of refined sugar can be tough, but given how incredibly harmful sugar can be, its definitely worth the effort (

Fortunately, quite a few sweeteners found in nature are actually healthy.

Theyre low in calories, low in fructose, and taste very sweet.

Here are 5 natural sweeteners that could be healthier alternatives to refined sugar.

Stevia is a very popular low calorie sweetener.

Its extracted from the leaves of a plant called Stevia rebaudiana.

This plant has been grown for its sweetness and medicinal purposes for centuries in South America.

Several sweet compounds are found in stevia leaves. The main ones are stevioside and rebaudioside A. Both are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, gram for gram.

Therefore, stevia is very sweet but has virtually no calories.

Additionally, a few human-based studies suggest stevia may have health benefits, including for the following health parameters:

  • Blood pressure. Stevia may help lower high blood pressure in people with hypertension. However, it doesnt affect normal or only mildly elevated blood pressure levels (
  • 4 ).

Many people greatly dislike the taste of stevia. The flavor depends on the brand, though, so you may need to experiment to find a type of stevia you like.

Summary

Stevia is a natural, zero-calorie sweetener that may help lower both your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

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So What Is The Healthiest Sugar

Despite the wide variety of sugars, they are actually very similar nutritionally. All forms of sugar are composed of glucose, fructose, and sucrose, which are the basic forms of sugar, and provide a similar number of calories per serving.

Sugars with a higher concentration of fructose, such as honey, have a higher sweetness level and, therefore, a smaller amount is needed to achieve a similar level of sweetness as white sugar. Moreover, liquid sugars, such as maple syrup and honey, have a higher water content therefore, the overall sugar content is slightly less than the white sugar equivalent by weight.

Sugars which have undergone less processing, such as cane sugar, turbinado sugar and coconut sugar, tend to have a higher content of minerals and antioxidant compounds, albeit very limited.

Overall, although minimally processed natural sweeteners, such as raw cane sugar, raw honey and pure maple syrup, are slightly less processed, contain slightly more minerals and compounds, the nutritional overall differences are rather insignificant when it comes to metabolic health.

Path To Improved Health

Healthy Diet For Type 2 Diabetes | Lower Blood Sugar At Home | Daniel Natural Health Tips

If you eat or drink too much added sugar, it can lead to health problems. These include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Increased low-density lipoprotein cholesterollevels
  • Decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterollevels

People who fill up on foods and drinks that contain added sugar may be less likely to eat and drink healthy options. For example, milk contains natural sugar but also provides calcium, protein, and vitamins that help your body function well. Sugary drinks contain added sugar and provide little to no nutritional value to your body.

Your body needs a certain amount of calories each day for energy. Think of this as your daily calorie goal. Your goal depends on your age, height, weight, and level of activity. Most of the calories you eat and drink should provide nutrients. Since added sugars dont have much nutritional value, theyre called empty calories. You may gain weight if you eat or drink too many empty calories.

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A Spoonful Of Sugar: Are All Sugars The Same

7 Minute Read

Medically Reviewed by UPMC Harrisburg

According to the 1964 Walt Disney musical Mary Poppins, just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine down. Yet, it is unlikely that you will hear anyone singing praises about sugar in 2018. The American public has become increasingly fixated on the sugar content of foods. Some prominent voices in health care and the media have even called sugar toxic and the root of all evil.

Currently, 51 percent of American adults report that they are trying to limit or avoid sugars when choosing foods and beverages. Theres little doubt that Americans consume too much sugar. But there is no concrete data to tell us exactly how much is too much.

One of my responsibilities as a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist is to sift through all of the nutrition misinformation and media hype. Here is some solid, evidence-based information about how too much sugar can be potentially harmful to our bodies.

Breaking It Down: Types Of Sugar

For the chemistry buffs, heres a quick bit of context: Sugars are also known as simple carbohydrates. They digest quickly, releasing sugars into your bloodstream.

Each type of sugar has its own set of problems:

  • Glucose is the most rapidly metabolized by the body and can send your blood sugar levels skyrocketing. It has a glycemic index score of 100 .
  • Fructose has no impact on insulin production or blood glucose levels. It also has a relatively low glycemic index score. But it must be metabolized by the liver and is associated with elevated levels of triglycerides, metabolic syndrome, and weight gain.
  • Sucrose is crystalized white sugar, from the cane sugar plant, and it consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.

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Added Versus Natural Sugars

An increasingly important distinction among sugars as they pertain to health is whether they occur naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables, and dairy, or whether they are , added to foods and beverages during manufacturing, processing, or preparation.

Sugary beverages are the greatest source of added sugar in the diet, followed by sweets and grains such as ready-to-eat cereals. Intake of added sugar, particularly from beverages, has been associated with weight gain, and higher risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Natural and added sugars are metabolized the same way in our bodies. But for most people, consuming natural sugars in foods such as fruit is not linked to negative health effects, since the amount of sugar tends to be modest and is “packaged” with fiber and other healthful nutrients. On the other hand, our bodies do not need, or benefit from, eating added sugar.

The 20152020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the World Health Organization both recommend that added sugar be limited to no more than 10% of daily calories. The updated Nutrition Facts Panel, expected to be rolled out in 2020 or 2021, will prominently feature a line disclosing added sugar along with the corresponding 10% daily value, to help consumers gauge their added sugar intake.

What Too Much Sugar Does To Your Health

Are certain types of sugars healthier than others ...

The high amounts of refined and added sugars in snack foods, sweets, and sodas have been linked with weight gain and the development of obesity in the United States, as they tend to be calorie dense with none of the nutritive benefits, says Voltolina. These types of sugars can cause rapid increases in blood sugar, which may increase the risk of insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes.

Extra sugar may also increase risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as increased triglyceride levels, which may contribute to cardiovascular disease. In a Circulation, the American Heart Association linked high intakes of added sugars with heightened rates of obesity and heart disease.

To avoid these risks, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 20202025 recommends limiting added sugar to less than 10 percent of your daily calories.

The AHA recommends women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily , and that men should limit their added sugar intake to 9 tsp or less . If youre adding 2 tsp of sugar to your daily coffee, eating cereal or granola that contains added sugar, and drizzling a store-bought salad dressing on your greens, you may be at or near your daily added-sugar limit by lunchtime even without having any candy or dessert.

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Artificial Sugar Raises Insulin Levels

What is one reason why doctors recommend artificial sugar for diabetics? Artificial sugar is not supposed to raise blood glucose or insulin levels. However, a study published in Diabetes Care in 2007 found that this assumption is false.

The researchers compared the glucose and insulin levels of men with diabetes after completing rigorous exercise. The men were given 5 different menu options. 1 group was fed high-glycemic sucrose 1 group was fed low-glycemic fructose 1 group was fed aspartame 1 group was fed high-fat/low-carb foods And the last group fasted before exercise The researchers believed that offering fructose or aspartame would have reduced insulin and glucose responses.

Surprisingly enough, the authors found that the aspartame meal raised glucose and insulin levels as much as the sucrose meal.

Other Health Risks of Artificial Sugar
  • Brain tumors

The Worst Sugar Substitutes

#1 High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup comes from corn. You can find it in processed foods, like baked goods, desserts, soda, juices, snacks, and commercial bread. Despite its name, the most common form consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose the same as table sugar.

Pros: Its cheap in the U.S. and sweet.

Cons: Most of the corn used to make HFCS is genetically modified. HFCS has been linked to numerous health concerns, such as an increased risk for metabolic syndrome, obesity, liver disease, and insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes and cancers. Its also void of nutrients.

#2 Brown Rice Syrup

Made by breaking down the starches in brown rice, this sugar substitute is a thick sweetener made of three sugars: maltotriose, maltose, and glucose. But maltose and maltotriose are just two and three glucose molecules, respectively. They function just like glucose in the body. Processed foods, including toddler snacks and bars, often contain brown rice syrup.

Pros: Brown rice syrup contains glucose, not fructose. The advantage of this is that glucose appears to have a less damaging effect on your liver than fructose.

Cons: Because its essentially glucose, rice syrup has a very high glycemic index of 98 higher than any other type of sugar . Brown rice syrup is also prone to arsenic contamination.

#3 Agave Nectar

#4 No-Calorie or Artificial Sweeteners

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All Types Of Added Sugar Should Be Limited

Even healthier varieties of sugars and sweeteners can be harmful when consumed in excess.

For example, raw honey is often considered a good alternative to regular sugar, due to its ability to promote wound healing, lower triglyceride levels, and reduce both total and LDL cholesterol (

48 ).

Meanwhile, artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols are commonly found in foods that have been highly processed and pumped with additives and preservatives, most of which should be limited on a healthy diet as well.

Therefore, its best to limit your intake of all types of added sugar, including natural sugars and sweeteners like coconut sugar, honey, and maple syrup.

Instead, enjoy your favorite sweets from time to time alongside a variety of fruits, veggies, proteins, and healthy fats as part of a nutritious, well-rounded diet.

Summary Even healthier sugars and sweeteners can be harmful in high amounts. Ideally, all types of sugars and sweeteners should be limited on a healthy diet.

Naturally Occurring Sugars Vs Added Sugars

Are Kind Bars Really That Healthy? ( The Sugar Content)

Some sugars occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and some grains. Eating these foods, as part of a complete, balanced diet, can provide enough sugar for our needs. Our bodies do not need any amount of added sugars to function properly or stay healthy.

Added sugars are those that are put into foods during processing or preparation, or that are added before eating for example, using sugar to sweeten coffee. The term “added sugars” refers to more than just white sugar, which is what may come to mind when many people hear the word “sugar.” There are many other forms of sugar that are commonly added to foods. See for a list of the names of sugars that may be found on a food’s ingredient list.

In general, foods that contain naturally-occurring sugars are not a big concern for healthy people. In addition to containing sugars, these foods are also nutrient-dense, meaning that they tend to be high in nutrients that our bodies need. However, foods with added sugars have been on the rise in the American diet for several years, which is concerning because of the effects that excess sugar can have on our health.

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Is Sugar Really That Bad For You

Sugar isn’t evil, but a little goes a long way.Trunkarchive.comEvery few years, there’s a new food bad guy in townand right now, it’s sugar. Some experts have even declared it a “poison” that’s “killing us.” Yet could the sweet stuff people have been eating forever really be so terrible? “We actually need sugar it’s our body’s preferred fuel,” says David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “But we eat too damn much of it.”

Naturally occurring sugarwhich gives fruit, some veggies, and milk their sweet tasteis perfectly healthy. It’s added sugar that we need to not OD on. No need to cut out dessert: The key is to eat strategically.

Happily, some major companies are getting on board. In the past four years, cereal brands have cut back on sugar, the milk industry recently lowered amounts in the chocolate milk served in schools, and Walmart is aiming for 10 percent less added sugar in select foods by 2015.

We turned to experts to clear up the confusion over this tasty temptress. As Dr. Katz says, “There’s a role for sugar in our diet. After all, what’s the point of being healthy if it’s not to enjoy living?”

Is there such thing as a sweet tooth?Yes, sugar love is in your DNA. Researchers have found two sweet-receptor genes that can predict a preference for sweets.

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