So you know that too much sugar is bad for you. You know we need to limit our daily intake; otherwise, health issues may occur. But have you ever wondered what the difference was between natural and refined sugar?
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In other words, have you ever compared and thought about the difference between raw and processed sugars that can impact our daily lives? The truth is all sugar is sugar.
And though it’s better to get sugar from natural sources that haven’t yet been processed, all sugar can still cause harm, and you will run the risk of dire consequences if you cannot limit your intake.
Natural sugars are those found naturally in foods. This is the most unprocessed, completely organic and basic sugar you can find. These sugars can be found naturally in food or can be naturally added through the primary food source.
Examples of natural sugars are sugars that come from honey, stevia, and fruit. Natural sugar is often dubbed as healthier and more fresh alternatives to processed and refined sugars. Natural sugars are usually good because the food source it is derived from usually contains lots of important nutrients.
Foods such as fruits, honey, and vegetables contain plenty of vitamins and minerals and are often very fresh. This means that not only are you getting your sugar intake, but you’re also getting your recommended intake of other essential nutrients.
Refined sugars refer to sugars that have gone through processing and have been refined continuously. Refined sugars often look like the small crystal-like grains we see everyday ar the coffee station.
Refined sugar can also be referred to as table sugar as it can be conveniently added into any food or drink. This type of sugar is usually made from sugar cane and sugar beets.
Refined sugar is made through a long process wherein lots of natural nutrients from sugar cane will be lost. This gives us a very pure form of sugar that can taste very sweet.
Refined sugar is often looked at in a negative light as it does not contain any nutritional value.
Sugar for Our Body
So what’s the difference of natural and refined sugars you might ask? Not a lot. But depending on how much you have and how the body reacts to it, the choice you make between the two can be quite crucial for your health.
All sugars are made up of two components, fructose, and glucose. Though that is the case, the body interprets and processes both very differently.
Fructose is broken down in the liver, and glucose is broken down in the stomach. As the name would suggest, fructose is the primary sugar that can be found in fruit. This means you also get the benefits of vitamins, fibre, and essential nutrients.
Fibre and vitamin intake are essential for a healthy immune system, healthy skin, as well as promoting a better digestive system. Fibre also helps to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
As refined sugars lack any nutritional value, the glucose is broken down too quickly for the body to metabolize it properly. This is because these sugars do not contain fibres.
The overflowing glucose will eventually convert into fat. Refined sugars can also cause insulin levels to spike, which will eventually lead to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious illnesses.
Effects of Too Much Sugar
Whether its natural or refined sugar, we need to monitor how much we can take. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars adults should be consuming are 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons for men, and for women, 25 grams or 6 teaspoons.
Overeating sugar can lead to the below health complications and serious diseases:
1. Blood Pressure
A diet that is high in sugar or carbohydrates will cause the body to release excessive amounts of insulin and leptin. In turn, this will activate the sympathetic nervous system and significantly increase our heart rate and blood pressure.
Refined sugars are high in calorie, and most sugary foods are calorically dense, which means you will be packing on a lot of calories without ever feeling full. Refined sugars contain a high amount of glucose.
Glucose that is not burnt in the form of energy is turned into fat by the body. This can lead to excess weight and even obesity. Obesity can be extremely alarming as it can lead to diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke attack and even some types of cancer.
Sugar is also one of the most significant risk factors for type 2 diabetes. In the case of diabetes, it is important to manage your weight and manage your sugar intake. Multiple studies have indicated that even just one serving of a sweetened beverage can increase the risk of type 3 diabetes by 15%.
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