Sugar is a sneaky ingredient in our day to day consumption and it keeps going up and up. It’s been a controversial topic, but is all sugars as bad as we say it is? Are some of them okay? Which kinds? How much? And what about a sweetner like a stevia? What is Sugar?
Sugar is a type of carbohydrates that SUGAR can be found in a lot of different kinds of foods. It’s most concentrated in forms like white sugar which is been extracted from the plants and refined into a crystalline substance, but regardless where it comes from once we eat it our body turns it into glucose which is ultimately used for energy.
Glucose is actually our brain and muscles’ primary and preferred fuel source. So if our body needed it to function optimally, then why sugar has such a bad reputation.
Types of sugar & what they do to the body?
Sugars can be extracted from two different SUGAR categories of carbohydrates. The first one is called complex carbs and these are usually the ones that found naturally in foods the other called simple carbs and these are usually the sugars that are added to foods. Simple carbs we will find in things like sweetened coffee drinks, energy drinks, colas, fruit juices, store boxed cereals and candies. These simple carbs cause a rapid spike in blood sugars levels followed by a rapid drop, that’s why sometimes we can crash and feel tired after we’ve eaten especially sweet.
But despite fatigue, there are potential long term consequences of excess sugar intake. They can be toxic to the pancreas, they can cause excess weight gain we get to increase the risk like diabetes and high blood pressure and so on. But sugar which is naturally found in food likes whole grains and vegetables, these complex carbs as the name suggests they have more complex structures which mean they take longer for the body to break it down that means the body process it and digest the sugars a lot more slowly which is a good thing. It leaves our body with lasting energy supply it’s not so toxic on the pancreas they are nutritionally intense, they give our brain and muscles preferred energy and fibre which helps us keep satiated for longer.
What about fruit? It’s true and people know that it contains sugar in it. They think they need to avoid it some times. It’s true that fruit contains simple carbs but they also contain complex carbs and that complicates things a little bit. The main thing that fruits have but fruit juices don’t have is fibre. The fibre itself helps the body slow down the absorption of sugar. Fruits have the whole sole power of nutrients which is so many benefits to eat.
On the other hand, smoothies keep the fibre intact but sometimes smoothies have different kinds of fruits in them maybe a banana and a mango and an orange and some others as well but the whole blend of protein and fat also helps our body to slow down the sugar absorption. Artificial sweeteners especially these artificial sweeteners are usually zero-calorie which is why a lot of people opt for them,as it doesn’t cause the blood sugar spike and most recent analysis says they haven’t been linked to outcomes like diabetes, kidney disease or high blood pressure either. But some studies point out some other issues. It might trick the brain, consuming sugar help us to feel satisfied but artificial sweeteners might not actually help us to get satisfied as mind still craves for something sweet. So, whole fruit sources are recommended over-processed foods.
How to manage sugar intake
For most recipes, we can decrease the amount of sugar by at least a quarter without any noticeable difference in taste or texture.
We could use whole fruit to sweeten things up. For example, using a mashed banana in a pancakes recipe despite using sugar or apple sauce and replace the syrup. Using fruit as a natural sweetener in our oats.
Most important sugar cravings can also be mistaken for thirst so if you crave for sweet beverage try drinking a glass of water first.
If you crave something sweet after dinner try to include some type of fruit in the mix.
When you notice that you decrease the intake of sugar in your diet, you might even start to notice those sudden sugar cravings gradually disappears. We retrain our taste buds to appreciate the natural sweetness of foods. You might be surprised to see you don’t even desire high sweeten foods after a while.
Not all sugars are bad. Those which are naturally found in the foods or those which we want to enjoy more often from sources like fruits, whole grains, veggies should be preferred over processed sugar and artificial sweetners. And when you need to use added sugars try a homemade recipe whenever you can that way you control how much goes in it. As everybody has a different relationship with foods, you know what’s best for your body, try to do research, do what makes you feel good.