We all know that too much Sugar is never good for you. But did you know there are actually two different types of “Sugar”? Naturally occurring sugars and added sugars.
So what really is the difference between the two and is one healthier than the other?
The Difference- Naturally occurring sugar is found in whole unprocessed foods, for example fruit, vegetables and some grains. The most common
natural sugar is fructose, which is found in fruit and lactose, found in milk products.
Whereas “Added Sugar” is the sugar added into processed foods/drinks while they are being made, as well as sugar you may add yourself to your
food at home. The Food manufacturers may add both natural sugars (such as fructose) and processed sugars such as (Corn syrup) to processed food and drinks.
Why Is Added Sugar Put In Food & Drink- There are many reasons but here are few examples:
· To serve as a preservative for foods like Jam and jelly
· maintains freshness of baked goods
· helps with the break down ( Fermentation) of Bread and Alcohol.
Limiting Added Sugar- This is the sugar that you want to limit in your diet since these sugars provided unnecessary calories and more importantly no helpful nutrients.
In the long term you can end up with obesity, tooth decay, type 2 diabetes, (and struggling with sugar cravings) and heart disease.
Should I limit Natural Sugars?- I wouldn’t worry about limiting Natural Sugars unless you are diabetic. They occur in whole foods like fruit, plain dairy ( milk, cheese, and yoghurt)
and while these naturally occurring sugars are not bad for you, it goes without saying for any
food, you must monitor your portions.
So even though the protein in dairy, and fibre plus water in fruit helps your body absorb the sugar slowly and steadily, going over the top and eating 20 fruits a day would be too much natural sugar in your diet.
2 to 3 servings of fruit per day is more than enough for most healthy adults, and will of course, add to your 5 a day 🙂
I do not personally limit my Natural Sugar intake and much rather concentrate on eradicating my added sugar intake as much as I can.
How to read nutrition labels when looking out for sugar– Sadly food manufacturers are still very slow and do not require or feel the need to separate naturally occurring sugars from your added sugars on the label.
But you can see how much total sugar is in each serving. You can also check the ingredient list (Food and Drink).
I know when first reading the labels it can be very confusing but all I want you to remember are these two killer tips.
4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar
1 gram of sugar = 4 calories
Using those two tips will make the information found on the nutrition facts label much easier to understand what it really means. A food or drink that contains 40 grams of sugar per serving is the same as 10 teaspoons of sugar and 160 calories.