Published On: Wed, Mar 19th, 2014

10 things you need to know about sugar

sugarEvery time you buy something rich in sugar, you are sending a message that you don’t care about your body, that you are satisfied with food that is making you sick, fat, and unhealthy.

1. Why should you be concerned about how much sugar you consume?
- Sugar adds empty calories to your diet. “Empty calories” means foods, which don't have any nutritional benefit.
- Sugar promotes belly fat.
- Eating excess sugar could lead to weight gain, obesity, diabetes and “diabesity” which bring a host of other health problems such as heart disease.

2. What happens in our body when we eat sugar?
When we consume sugar, our body has two options on how to deal with it:
- Burn it for energy.
- Store excess sugar in our fat cells.

3. How does our body store excess sugar in fat cells?
- When our pancreas detects a rush of sugar, it releases a hormone called insulin to deal with all of that excess sugar.
- Insulin helps regulate that level of sugar in our blood and store all of this glucose in fat cells

4. What is the difference between added sugar and natural sugar?
- Added sugars are those that are added to foods. The most common added sugars are regular table sugar (sucrose) or high fructose corn syrup.
- Natural sugar is the kind of sugar contained in fruits, vegetables, and other plants.

5. How much added sugar should you consume per day?
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are:
- Men: 150 calories per day from added sugar (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).
- Women: 100 calories per day from added sugar (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).

6. How much natural sugar is good for you?
- Specific sugar recommendations aren’t available for natural sugars which occur in fruits.
- Fruits are packed with beneficial vitamins, minerals and fiber.
- Your daily consumption of Fruits and Vegetables should be around 33% of your diet.

7. What about fruit sugar?
- When you consume fruit, you are not only consuming fructose, but also consuming fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals, which are good for your health.
- But yes, fruits do have an effect on our blood sugar, as it is sugar.
- Generally fruit will cause less of a blood sugar spike compared to nutrient-void table sugar.

8. What about fruit juices?
- When you consume fruit juices, the juice is squeezed, giving you all of the juice but very little of the fiber or nutrients that get left behind in the process.
- For this reason, many fruit juices should probably be called “sugar water”.
- If you are going to eat fruit, get it in fruit form, not juice form.

9. Which are the foods that contain lot of sugar?
- White bread (maida)
- Pasta (unless whole grain)
- White flour (maida) products made with it such as cake, cookies, crackers, doughnuts and muffins.
- Potato chips and sugar rich chocolates
- Products with added sugar, e.g. jams and jellies
- Salad dressings and sauces with added sugar
- Fruit drinks containing added sugar
- Sugar-sweetened soft drinks

10. What are the best things to eat when you crave something sweet?
- If you are going to eat sugar, get it from fruits.
- Go for plain yogurt with fruits.
- If you can't pass up something with added sugar, make sure it is made with oats or whole grains instead of white flour (maida).

So, there you have it. I encourage you to decrease your sugar intake, start eating more real foods and cut back on soft drinks purchases. Are you up to the challenge?

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