Give Me Some Sugar, Baby!


Sugar, from any source, will supply the glucose that your body craves to use for energy, but sugar added to sweets and beverages has an entirely different impact on your body than the same amount of sugar that you get from fruit.

There are three types of carbohydrates in your diet; sugar, starch and fiber, and they all consist of sugar. Simple sugars, such as sucrose, fructose and lactose, only have one or two molecules of sugar. Starch and fiber are complex carbohydrates because they’re made up from three to hundreds of sugar molecules. During digestion, simple sugars and complex starches will break down into single molecules. Since they contain more molecules of sugar, starches take longer to digest, which means that they enter the bloodstream slowly. Simple sugars will gain quick entry and cause a spike in blood sugar. All bad sugar is simple sugar, but not all simple sugar is bad. Confusing yes, but it all depends upon the source.

Fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains contain simple sugars. When simple sugars are naturally found in whole food, they come along with vitamins, minerals, protein, phytochemicals and fiber. The presence of fiber makes a significant difference because it slows down the absorption of sugar, which helps regulate its impact on blood sugar. The natural sugar that is found in whole food is good sugar. When any type of sugar is added to foods during processing, cooking or at the table, you are consuming calories without any nutrients or fiber. This type of sugar is called added sugar and is bad sugar.

Bad sugars increase your risk of gaining weight and of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Did you know that one teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories and a teaspoon of honey has 21 calories that means you’ll get 136 calories, including 33 grams or 8 teaspoons of sugar, from a 12-ounce can of soda. These empty calories will quickly add up to an excessive weight gain.

Your body’s primary source of energy is glucose, so it’s important to get at least 130 grams of total carbohydrates in your daily diet. This includes 38 grams of fiber for men and 25 grams of fiber for women. So, try to get all of your carbohydrates from things like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.

Some healthy-sounding sweeteners, like maple syrup, fruit nectar, brown sugar, molasses and honey are added sugars. Basically, there are two kinds; refined sugar (bad sugar) and natural sugar (god sugar). Natural sugar is found in fruits, some vegetables, and a bunch of other whole foods. This kind of sugar is excellent for fueling your body.

You should have the natural kind of sugar before you work out or earlier in the day so you burn it off going through your daily activities. Refined sugar needs to be avoided, while the natural kind supplies our bodies with the good sugar. Refined sugar is more processed and ends up turning into fat.

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