The major beverage and food sources of added sugar are soft drinks, smoothies, cakes, cookies, candy, pastries, snacks, and desserts. Almost each and every processed food that grocery stores have to offer contain some forms of added sugar. Even if you spend time and energy with reading the food labels you will have a hard time to spot added sugar. Food manufacturers use several different names for added sugar, for example:
- white granulated sugar
- raw sugar
- malt syrup
- invert sugar
- high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- corn syrup solids
What can you do in order to reduce your sugar intake? Looking for the “no sugar added ” sign on a product is a good starting step. However, you should not forget about the natural sugar content neither. Fruits like dates, raisins, apricots, prunes, figs, pineapple, pomegranates, mangoes, bananas and other natural foods can be the source of naturally occurring sugars. Our article attempts to clarify the difference between sugar-free products and foods that contain only natural sugars.
Health risk of sugar consumption
Is there any correlation between high sugar intake and obesity?
According to the findings of a study, which was conducted by the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, sugar contributes to obesity with more than simply raising your caloric intake.
“Not only do added sugars displace nutritionally superior foods in the diet, but they may also deplete nutrients from other foods that have been consumed, as well as from body stores, in order to enable their proper oxidation and liberate their calories as energy. Additionally, the consumption of added sugars damages the mitochondria and hence impairs energy generation. Moreover, overconsuming added sugars may result in a kind of ‘internal starvation’ (via leptin and insulin resistance) leading to further hunger signals in the body. Added sugars promote nutrient and energy deficit and through this novel pathway promote obesity.”1
While carbohydrates sources with low glycemic index (GI) index require more time to be absurd, CH sources with simple molecular structure can be absurd within a short period of time. Refined carbohydrates like sugar cause an instant raise in your blood sugar levels. Increased blood sugar level will indicate a sudden insulin reaction. Due to the excess levels of insulin, which is also called hyperinsulinemia, your blood sugar level may increase below its optimal interval. Having an abnormally low blood glucose level can lead to the false feeling of hunger.
Coronary heart disease
Close your eye and imagine a “serial killer” who is capable of killing 17.7 million people in a year.2 This “serial killer” is even more terrifying than the most horrorous murderers in the history of criminology. The name of this merciless monster is “cardiovascular diseases”. CVDs are the leading cause of deaths globally. Lifestyle and dietary factors can play a crucial role in the prevention of cardiovascular medical conditions. Based on the findings of a study conducted by the Athabasca University, consuming refined sources of CH, like sugar can increase the risk of coronary heart disease by 20%.
“Refined carbohydrates, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Conversely, whole grains and cereal fiber are protective. An extra one or 2 servings per day of these foods increases or decreases risk by approximately 10% to 20%.”3
No sugar added Vs. sugar-free
Understanding the difference between the “sugar-free” and “no sugar added” food labels can help to reduce your sugar intake. What is the difference between these two terms?
- No sugar added: sugar or sugar-containing ingredient was not used during the processing of the food. Naturally occurring sugars still can be present in the food.
- Sugar-free: the sugar content of the food is zero or near to zero.
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