Sugar, the enemy of the day or friend for life?

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April 17, 2021

We all know sugar can cause some health problems. Its sweetness makes it easy to eat, you can also mix it with a variety of food and drinks, but there are drawbacks to it. However, is sugar the enemy of the day or friend for life? It definitely necessarily doesn’t have to be bad for you. Sugar is essential for the brain. It can be healthy if taken in proper doses. We usually divide sugar into two categories, fast-acting simple sugars, and slow-acting complex sugars. Nutritionists recommend that we consume more than half of our daily energy via carbohydrates, which consists of 15% simpler sugars.

Want to learn more? Keep reading the article!

Diabolized by the media, sugar is no longer popular in our fridges and on our shelves, but is this recent reversal justified? Shouldn’t we understand it better in order to consume it better? That’s what we’re going to suggest you do in this article, by learning how to quickly and simply differentiate between the different sugars to make them a friend for life.

Sugar, an essential intake

Sugar is essential for the brain, which cannot use any other source of energy than glucose, and for intense or prolonged physical effort. The body can supply it to the cells either directly through the digestion of sugary or starchy foods, or by manufacturing it, but it needs it at all costs. Unfortunately, in today’s society, too much sugar is far more common than too little, leading to countless health problems.

Simple sugars and complex sugars

Usually, sugars are classified into two categories, fast-acting simple sugars, and slower-acting complex sugars. Both can be found naturally in the foods we eat, such as fruit, milk, or starchy foods. But both can also be added, in natural, processed or chemical form, to our favorite products. We will take a closer look at the latter.

To reduce the calorie intake of a product and keep the sweetness, we can choose to replace it with sweeteners, sweetening products with no or low-calorie intake, such as Stevia (natural) or aspartame, maltodextrin, etc (synthetic). Studies to date are not sufficient to know the impact of Stevia on our metabolism but the impact of synthetic sweeteners is clear and their consumption is not recommended, especially for children and pregnant women.

Different forms of sugars to meet different needs

Natural sugars:

Sugar cane, honey, maple syrup, grape, or apple juice are all ways of sweetening a product, defining its texture, preserving its quality or extending its shelf life. The unloved one is our refined sugar, from beet or sugar cane. Its glycemic index is a little higher than that of grape juice (70 vs 55, fructose 20), but its reputation is much worse. And some manufacturers have understood that it is better to highlight its absence and indicate 100% fruit while extending the recipe of the sugar base with juice, concentrated or not. So be careful with 100% fruit if your aim is to reduce sugar consumption and check the list of ingredients to make sure it is not misleading!

No added sugar:

Some products are truly no added sugar, which means that only the sugars originally present are in the product. This is ideal for controlling our needs.

The labelling rules will enable us to avoid the pitfalls. Here are the tips:

● First of all, check-in the list of ingredients that no sugar has been added. No sugar, no glucose-fructose syrup, no “concentrated grape or apple juice”…

● Read the table of nutritional values. You will find the mention of “carbohydrates” (all the sugars) including the sugars that are present only in their simple forms. It is this difference that allows us to choose between a quick boost and long-term energy. Unfortunately, this does not distinguish between the number of natural sugars and added sugars, which is a real shame.

Nutritionists responsible for public health recommend that we consume more than half of our daily energy in the form of carbohydrates, of which about 15% is in the form of simpler sugars. Sugar is our friend, as long as it is consumed in the right amount!

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