Despite its terrible reputation and popular diet trends, you don’t have to leave sugar entirely. We consume sugars from fruits, dairy, and vegetables. Our body converts starches like potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, and beans into the simple sugar called glucose. Any form of sugar is just a simple carbohydrate that the body converts into glucose for energy. But the type of sugar you’re eating affects the body directly, and your overall health depends upon it, either natural or refined.
The Recommended Amount Of Sugar To Eat Daily
According to WHO guidelines, natural sugar does not count as the daily intake because natural sugars from fruits and vegetables contain lots of fiber, which reduces your blood sugar.
According to the American Heart Association, the recommended amount is the following criteria for sugar intake in different categories.
- For women: Consume about 25 g of sugar per day.
- For children: Consume about 12 to 25 g of sugar per day
- For men: Consume 38 g of sugar per day
What Is Added Sugar?
Added sugar is any sweetener that is added to food or beverages during processing or food preparation. Added sugars can include natural sugars, like white, brown sugar, honey, and caloric sweeteners manufactured chemically.
The main sources of added sugar include
- Soft drinks
- Dairy desserts
- Fruit drinks
- Ice cream
Sources of added sugar:
Added sugars are sugars added to processed foods and beverages during manufacturing. So, that sugar could be in a candy bar or soda. Added sugar sources include sucrose, white table sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup. They’re primarily composed of glucose and fructose, simple sugars bound together to form sucrose but float separately alongside each other in HFCS.
What is Natural Sugar?
Natural sugars are natural, as they sound. They are naturally occurring in certain foods like fruit, vegetables, and milk (in the form of lactose).
Sources of natural sugar:
There are two sources of sugars that are considered natural:
First is sugar in fruits and some vegetables like sweet potatoes. Also, found naturally in milk and its products. The natural sugars in fruit are fructose and glucose, and in milk products, lactose.
Difference Between Added Sugars vs. Natural Sugars
It’s essential to know the difference between added sugars and natural foods like fruits and vegetables. Added sugar in processed foods is much more harmful to your health than the natural sugar in whole foods like fruits and vegetables. These foods contain fiber, water, and many micronutrients. Added sugar is the main ingredient in candy and plentiful in many soft drinks and baked products. The most common added sugars are regular sucrose and high fructose corn syrup.
To lose weight and maintain your health, avoid foods that contain added sugars. Also, keep in mind that added sugars can include natural sugars. Like, if you add honey to oatmeal, the oatmeal contains added sugar from a natural source.
Which Sugar Is Bad For You?
Added sugar can become a problem, especially if you aren’t careful about the ingredients mentioned in the food labels. When consuming packaged foods, and as added sugar provides us with the sweet flavor we love, it adds empty calories to the diet. Added sugars do not provide any added nutrients, and excessive intake can increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and even heart disease over time. Also, added sugar is addictive. The more sugar we consume, the more we tend to crave.
There are different forms and sources of sugars, and differentiating between those found naturally in foods and refined and added to products and recipes is crucial to consider. Focusing on reducing sweet, specifically added sugars, will indirectly lead us to consume more unprocessed foods, which means more nutrition which is a good thing.