Sugar can cause various health conditions such as: weakening of the immune system, depletion of vitamin B, calcium and magnesium, increased chances of cancer and diabetes, tooth decay.
But besides this, sugar is also the main cause of weight gain and in some situations obesity.
Sure, foods high in sugar are also high in calories, but sugar also makes us overeat by stimulating our taste.
You and probably most people who try to eat healthy know that sugar should be avoided as much as possible. So you drink your coffee without sugar, you sweeten your tea with honey and try not to use it when you cook.
Still, sugar manages to sneak in some foods, which made me wonder: exactly what foods should we avoid and how much sugar it is ok to eat per day?
The first thing you need to know is that sugar is one of the 3 kinds of carbohydrates, among starch and fiber, and it is divided into two categories: the naturally occurring sugar (good sugar) and added sugar (or bad sugar).
The good sugar can be found in certain foods and under various forms such as:
- dairies: milk, yoghurt (lactose);
- fresh or frozen fruits: apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, pineapple, strawberries and many others (fructose, glucose);
- vegetables: carrots, tomatoes, zucchinis and others (fructose, glucose);
- honey (fructose, glucose).
Naturally occurring sugars provide our bodies not only with energy but also with vitamins and minerals. However, beware of the canned fruits, dried fruits, flavored milk or yoghurt, since they have a lot of additives and calories.
Fruits, dairies and vegetables are best consumed fresh and in their natural state. Honey should be consumed in small amounts. Although it has medicinal benefits and nutritional elements, it can raise your blood sugar levels more than plain sugar.
Added or artificial sugar
Unlike naturally occurring sugar, the bad sugar doesn’t provide us with anything but calories. This is why the calories in it are called “empty calories”.
The bad or added sugar can be found in most foods, under the form of refined sugar and artificial sweeteners:
- canned or dried fruits;
- flavored milk or yoghurt;
- ketchup and other sauces or dressings;
- cakes, donuts, muffins;
- pastries, pies, puddings, jelly;
- ready-to-eat cereals or breakfast bars;
- sodas ,alcohol other beverages;
And the list could go on forever. The point is that added sugar is very bad for our health.
What about plain table sugar?
Plain table sugar (sucrose or saccharose) comes in various forms too. The difference is in the refining process, which gives sugar different colors:
- The refined sugar is white and is filtered for any unwanted materials but also vitamins and minerals.
- The less refined or unrefined sugar, is golden and has a minimal amount of nutritional elements and molasses.
- Brown sugar is the same with refined sugar except that it also contains amounts of molasses. Molasses is a great source of iron, calcium, copper and manganese, which is why brown sugar is considered healthier than the white one. Be carreful at the colored refined sugar!
Even tough its consumption is bad for the health, sugar is still healthier than the artificial sweeteners, due to its lower glycemic index (measurement of the effects of foods on our blood sugar) in comparison to sweeteners.
Whichever you decide to choose, remember that the daily sugar amount should be moderate. Specialists recommend a maximum 50 grams of carbohydrate daily under the form of sugar for a person who is on a 2000 calorie diet. A normal teaspoon of sugar has 4 grams of carbohydrates.
RSS Trackback URL 27. January 2011 (14:34)
Filed under: Nutrition by Alice in Dietland