Which Type Of Sugar Do You Eat More Of?
In reality, sugar is sugar - but the difference here is the nutritional value and what these impacts can have on the body. When you compare sugar from whole foods to refined foods, you'll see they aren't made equally, or digested equally either!
So What's The Difference?
On the Left: the refined sugar in these skittles that had any possible nutrients, have been stripped away during the refining process and you are left with what we call "empty calories" which spikes insulin and blood sugar levels encouraging dysglycemia and many other health issues.
Although skittles are a good example, I'm not only talking about candies, cakes and pastries. This refined sugar is also found in cereals, granola and energy bars, salad dressings, bottled sauces, and almost all packaged and processed food. This is why it's so important to read your food labels and know what you're looking for (which I will discuss in a moment).
On the Right: whole foods like fruit contain sugar too but they also have an abundance of vitamins, minerals, fibre, enzymes, water and hundreds of phytonutrients that not only assist in the assimilation, but also have many other health benefits.
The fibre in whole foods will slow down the absorption rate of sugar. This is why “simple sugars” found in whole foods don’t increase blood sugar levels as fast as other forms of refined sugar.
Spotting Sugar in Food Labels?
Sugars can be disguised as many names on your food labels, but don't be fooled! Try to avoid the following listed in your ingredients.
1) Monosaccharides, also known as "simple" or "refined" are listed on food labels as:
Keep in mind that fructose is the type of sugar found in fruit but this is different (as mentioned above) because it comes with many other nutrients that help with assimilation.
2) Disaccharides, also known as "complex" as listed on food labels as:
In general, I recommend that you avoid all sugars that end in "-ose" except for fructose when it is naturally occurring in fruit. But don't stress too much over it because that won't do you any good either! One of the easiest ways to eliminate or cut back on sugar is to simply avoid packaged and processed foods. Cook and bake your own foods using simple, whole ingredients.
So don’t feel confused, you CAN still eat refined sugar from your favourite treats. It’s not going to do any damage overnight. Moderation is Key! But in terms of reducing your sugar intake: think of it like incorporating your sources from fruits, vegetables and REAL foods rather than refined and processed foods!