Sweet as… Sugar
When you enter the store, you will find several basic foods: oil, flour, salt and… Sugar. Worldwide, sugar consumption is growing steadily, so we can find it in many industrial products, from juices, meat products to sweets.
Imagine how poorer the world would taste if it wasn’t for sugar. Sweet is one of the five kinds of flavors we have besides salty, sour, bitter and hot. What’s in sugar when we love it so much?
Sugar is actually saccharose, and is also known as consumed sugar, table sugar, industrially refined sugar or white sugar.
This sugar represents empty calories because it contains neither protective substances nor biological catalysts, such as microelements, vitamins and enzymes.
For the digestion of this sugar, it is necessary for the organism to make an effort and to compensate for the absence of all of the above components.
The white sugar glycemic index is 65 ± 4 1. In relation to glucose, sugar is quickly digested and disrupts pancreatic and adrenal glands.
Sudden changes in insulin and glucose in sensitive people can lead to hypoglycemia, whose associated symptoms include fatigue, weakness, sweating and nausea.
Long-term consumption of higher amounts of fast-food sugar leads to intolerance to sugar and leads to diabetes.
In obese people, intake of sugar and other high-sugar products encourages the build-up of fat, all of which can lead to the onset of diabetes, blood vessel disease, heart, kidneys and other organs.
Intake of higher amounts of sugar can cause triglycerides to increase in the serum. Sugar together with fatty foods leads to an increase in cholesterol levels in the serum.
Using sugar and sweets requires proper dental hygiene, which is especially important in children.
Sugar stimulates reproduction of bacteria, which grow on sugar in the mouth and create lactic acid that damages dental enamel.
Fructose or sugar, the question is now…
Fructose or fruit sugar is a simple monosaccharide that is found not only in fruit, but also in other plants. It can occur in plants and in the form of disaccharides, saccharose.
Most commonly, fructose is produced from sugar beet, sugar cane and corn. Fructose has the same chemical formula as glucose C6H12O6, but a different structure.
The primary role of fructose is in the production of food and drink, because it is cheap to produce, and it is very sweet. Fructose is the sweetest of all sugars, as much as 1.73 times sweeter than saccharose (white sugar). However, when you warm fructose it changes its structure and becomes as sweet as saccharose.
Relative sugar sweetness compared to saccharose is: lactose 16%, galactose 32%, maltose 32.5%, inverted sugar 50%, glucose 74.3%, honey 97%, fructose-glucose syrup 100%, saccharose 100%, fructose 173%. In many recipes, fructose can replace saccharose quite well.
Natural sources of fructose
They’re fruits, vegetables and honey. Some fruits have a higher fructose content to glucose than others. For example, apples and pears contain twice as much fructose as glucose, while apricots have twice the fructose content of glucose.
Pear and apple juices are very interesting to pediatricians, because because of the high concentration of fructose they can cause diarrhea in children, because the absorption of fructose in them is significantly less than the absorption of glucose and saccharose.
Insufficient fructose absorption can lead to bloating, diarrhea, gases and abdominal pain. If you have a problem with these symptoms and exercise immediately after consuming fructose-rich foods, the symptoms can get worse.
Consumption of foods rich in other phytochemicals, for example flavonoids with fructose, also encourages this phenomenon.
Since fructose is 1.73 times sweeter than saccharose (at room temperature), it means that it takes as many times a small amount to get the same effect. Fructose is prescribed to diabetics because it does not deny the production of insulin in pancreatic beta cells.
Fructose glycemic index is only 19 (± 2) which is compared to honey (61 ± 3) or regular sugar (65 ± 4) very moderate. Some research suggests that if fructose is ingested before eating, it may reduce the glycemic index of other foods in the dish 2.
Every sugar can make you fat
Excessive fructose use has previously been associated with insulin resistance, obesity, high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which definitely have a bad effect on metabolism. One research has shown that high fructose use actually produce fatty tissue and obesity 3.
Fructose also appears in synthetically made fructose-glucose syrup, which is derived from hydrolyzed corn starch. It is a raw material for the production of carbonated soft drinks, as well as in the food industry, instead of saccharose.
The use of this syrup is generally better than the use of saccharose, because less insulin and leptin is secreted, but the levels of ghrelin are higher. To clarify, ghrelin increases appetite while insulin and leptin reduce it 4.
In the final sum, because of the greater appetite, the substitution of saccharose fructose-glucose syrup has a counterproductive effect in healthy people, obesity.
Excessive use of carbonated beverages containing this syrup can also lead to fatty liver, so be smart! It is always better to drink water.
Similarly, one study shows an increased risk of gout associated with the use of fructose-rich foods and soft drinks containing fructose-glucose syrup. I guess suffice it to say, soda isn’t healthy.
So if you want to sweeten up, avoid industrial products, sweets and refreshing drinks and bite into an apple or any other fruit. Now, that’s healthy food.
Is there a difference in the metabolism of fruit and refined sugars?
When looking at the consumption of carbohydrates in the body, it is clear that the end product is degraded glucose, which the body uses as a source of energy.
This energy is used by the body immediately or to some extent stored in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen.
When we talk about refined sugar, it’s the same sugar that most of you use for coffee and to make cookies and ice cream from.
This refined sugar is made up of glucose and fructose.
Sugar from fruit also contains fructose and glucose.
Although refined sugar and the one from the fruit are more or less the same thing, their absorption depends on several factors.
As a result, fruit and refined sugar have very different effects on the body.
The problem with refined sugar is its rapid absorption, or simply a high glycemic index (GI). Refined crystal sugar (or as stated in the declarations: sugar) contains glucose and fructose in equal ratio (1:1). It contains no nutrients, no fiber, nothing but mere energy.
It also doesn’t have saturating power, digests quickly and immediately enters the blood and raises insulin levels to the sky. It’s fast energy, and if you don’t use it immediately, it’ll form fat deposits.
Fructose is metabolized in the liver and is immediately ready for use, however it also improves the production of fatty tissue and makes harder for liver to work properly.
Fructose, therefore, is dangerous for your slim line, because its degradation increases the production of your fatty tissue. Refined sugar is also a high-fructose syrup (HFCS) which is even worse than a regular sugar crystal because it contains 55% fructose and 45% glucose.
It’s cheap, so the whole food industry uses it. We can’t talk about anything nutritionally valuable here either.
As each refined sugar is digested quickly, you’ll be quickly hungry after a chocolate bar or a can of soda.
Fruit and fiber
Fruit, unlike refined sugar, contains an abundance of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, primarily fiber. Fiber can be degradable and non-degradable and significantly affect the rate of digestion of food.
Some fibers are removed undigested from the body, while those degraded with the help of bacteria in the colon break down and support bowel movements and thus better digestion.
This slower digestion of sugar from fruit significantly reduces the sharp jump in blood sugar levels that occur when you digest refined sugar. It is clearly more healthier to intake sugar from fruit rather than refined.
Fiber is the biggest reason fruit sugars are not as dangerous as refined sugar, preventing rapid digestion of sugar and/or storing it in the form of fat.
Think about the fibers
Fruit is extremely beneficial for your health, especially in a fresh state. Once the fruit is frozen, cooked or squeezed into juice, the benefits are reduced. The reason is that the cell wall of fibers is destroyed.
So when you drink a glass of orange juice, although still rich in nutrients, it’s not as beneficial as fresh oranges. The same goes for cooking apples, apricots, plums or raspberries for jam.
When I say that fruit is extremely beneficial for health it doesn’t mean that you should now rush on to the fruit and bring it in in abnormal quantities. It should be ingested in small quantities, best in the form of fresh fruit, say within a snack a day. Not every fruit is equally low GI, so you should be careful there.
If you’re thinking of sweetening your beverages with fructose instead of sugar, you’d better not. Stick to the fresh seasonal fruit and fiber from it, your body will thank you.
Reduce your sugar intake: 3 tips that are really worth it!
If your day can’t even start without a “sweet enemy,” it’s time to reduce your sugar intake. Look at the composition of almost all industrial foods. Technologists have found myriad uses, and the world’s population is increasingly consuming it.
At the same time, the number of diabetics is rising, as is the number of obese. We slowly forget the times when we drank water, ate nutritionally rich foods, and ate sweets only on special occasions.
If you already knew it was bad, make the decision to at least reduce your sugar intake. If you’re not sure how to start, there’s no need to feel fear or discomfort. Read my advice on how easiest it is to reduce your intake of refined sugars and you will be able to achieve your goal.
All good healthy eating plans rest on avoiding the use of refined sugar, among other things.
There are three basic tips for a healthy diet. If you implement them, you will be able to significantly reduce your sugar intake. There are plenty of recipes to help you eat healthier and achieve your goal.
Tip to reduce sugar intake: Cook at home
Cooking at home, instead of eating in a restaurant or eating fast food, is the most effective way to control the level of added sugar in your diet. When you cook your own food, you control what’s in it.
Try making your own pasta sauces and toppings and make dishes or soups from fresh foods instead of buying ready-made options.
No one is a good cook until they try it at least once, and tips for preparing, as well as recipes, can be found in cookbooks in print or online. If you’re not good at cooking, it’s time to learn.
Cooking is a thing that definitely improves your quality of life and is key to any healthy diet. By the time you will learn how to prepare food, and how to choose right ingredients and quantities.
I think it’s obvious that cakes, candies, and other sweets contain sugar, but did you know that many processed and canned foods also contain hidden sugar, in addition to large amounts of fat and salt?
Cans aren’t healthy foods and should be first on the eviction list. Various spice mixtures, bouillon and industrial sauces contain sugar. You don’t need that. Cook from scratch.
Tip: Opt for naturally sweet fruits and vegetables
As you wean yourself off the unknowingly added sugars, choose natural sources of sugar such as fresh fruit or naturally sweet vegetables such as sweet potatoes. This will help your palate adjust by maintaining enough energy so you don’t crave sugar.
Naturally sweet fruits and vegetables, such as fresh raspberries that we added to the porridge, are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Experiment and see what works best for you.
Of course, beware of added sugar here, because some fruits are treated with sugar, such as all the candied fruit. Naturally, seasonal fruit is the best choice.
So, when summer begins, choose cherries, raspberries, peaches, blueberries, blackcurrants, apricots. A little later and blackberries, plums, figs, grapes… melons and watermelons!
Tip: Eat enough protein and healthy fats
Include protein and healthy fats in all your main meals. These macronutrients need more time to digest, so they keep you satiated longer, which is crucial for suppressing appetite.
Lunch is the main meal of the day and should be nutritiously rich. Complement the virgin olive oil with some seasonal salad with minced linen and sunflower seeds, and choose protein from the best sources: fish, chicken, as well as legumes.
It’s especially important that dinner is rich in protein and healthy fats, as it will keep you full until morning. Make sure though you don’t have dinner too late.
Breakfast, on the other hand, should have slightly more carbohydrates than dinner, and snacks are a excellent if they contain seasonal fruits and nuts.
Skipping meals is counterproductive, because you burden your stomach and digestive organs in the meal that follows, and as a result, stomach pains can occur.
On the other hand, small or no breakfast will speed up your cravings for food, especially sweet ones. In that case, it’s easier to reach for sweets and the whole plan to discard refined sugars will fail.
As you can see, sugar isn’t the healthiest food, so if you like sweet, you’d better take some fruit and add a real wealth of vitamins and minerals in addition to its sweet taste. If you like juices, forget the industrial, sweetened ones, but put all sorts of fruits in the juicer, and… Cheers!