It’s important to understand the role sugar plays in your diet. Even if you’re not trying to lose weight it is important to understand how sugar affects your health.
The World Health Organization recommends that for optimal health we should restrict our added sugar intake to 25 grams per day. But what exactly are added sugars? Added sugars are sugars that are removed from their original source and added to foods as a sweetener or preservative for longer shelf life. Consuming sugars that occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, and dairy are not bad. Sugars removed from their original source and added to foods need to be consumed in extreme moderation.
When reading a label, it’s important to check the ingredients list and look out for any added sugars. Some companies will attempt to confuse you by listing added sugar as other names like ‘evaporated cane juice’ or ‘organic palm sugar’. Don’t be fooled! These are still added sugars and often contain fructose as a sweetener. Fructose is what makes foods sweet. Fructose is found in fruit as well as a few vegetables but there is a big difference when we eat it in fruit and veggies. Fructose in fruit is encased in fiber which hugely affects how it metabolizes in our bodies. The fiber helps to slow down the absorption. This prevents the fructose from getting direct access to the liver like it does when it is an added sugar. When it is able to access the liver very quickly, there is no regulatory process for it so it rapidly gets turned into fat. This process is greatly affected and halted when the fructose is absorbed with the fiber of the fruit. Try to stick to eating fruit rather than foods with added sugar.
Another ingredient to look out for is lactose. Lactose, sometimes called milk sugar, is a white crystalline disaccharide in milk. Some people are intolerant to lactose and need to watch their intake. The two sugars that make up lactose are healthy sugars: glucose and galactose. Glucose is a natural sugar that the body needs. However, too much sugar is not good for you in any form. This is why it is important for us to eat a well balanced and healthy diet.
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