Sugar is essential in the diet and it is recommended that a given percentage of the daily intake should come from sugars. There are different types of sugars depending on the source and the processing applied. For most consumers, it is usually a dilemma when it comes to identifying the type of sugar that is best to include in a daily diet. This is usually a challenge because most consumers want to have the right intake without jeopardizing their health in any way. The main types of sugars include:
Natural sugars are usually found in plant and animal products. Any kind of processing usually affects the amount and type of the sugar. The main sources include:
• Unprocessed fruits and vegetables
Benefits of Natural Sugars
• Fat loss
Natural sugars, especially from vegetable and fruits, usually play a very big part in weight loss. Plant sources usually contain fiber, which creates a feeling of satiety. This ensures that one does not consume too much food. If the diet constitutes a large portion of unprocessed fruits and vegetable then you will feel full very fast. The fiber that is present in natural sources of sugar helps eliminate fat and cholesterol in the body. This is very beneficial because it helps one to not only lose weight but also to avoid health conditions such as hypertensions and colon cancer. Fiber slows down the rate at which food is released into the bloodstream, ensuring that one does not feel hungry quickly. Eating natural sugars will ensure that the body does not have excess calories to store.
• A good supply of energy for growth and maintenance
Our bodies need a constant and sufficient supply of energy for growth and maintenance. If there is no adequate supply, the muscles will begin to wear out. An adequate supply of energy is important especially among the young people whose muscles are still developing. Natural sugars provide sufficient amount of energy that facilitates growth and maintenance of the body muscles. Sugars are very essential for the two processes and must be consumed in adequate amounts for the muscles to be in good shape. After a period of starvation, increasing the intake of natural sugars with a small percentage above the recommended amount will help speed up the muscle recovery process.
• Supply vitamins and other essential nutrients
Consuming natural sugars will give you an ample supply of vitamins and minerals that the body requires for different processes. Fruits and vegetables supply vitamins that help boost the body’s immune system. With a strong immune system, you will be able to avoid infections. Nuts and dairy sources also supply minerals such as calcium and iron. Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth while iron is essential for the formation of hemoglobin.
• 100% natural with minimal to no side effects
As long as they are consumed in the right amount, natural sugars do not result to negative side effects. You can only experience side effects if you are allergic to any of the nutrients in the source.
Bad Effects of Natural Sugars
• Excess can be harmful to health
Consumption of excess natural sugars can have a negative impact on one’s health. When consumed in excess, the body will convert the excess sugar to glycogen and fat and store it in the body. Accumulated fat and glycogen stores will lead to weight gain. Excessive weight gain can cause health problems such as heart problems and diabetes. It also has a very bad effect on one’s self esteem. Therefore, it is important to know the recommended daily intake to avoid consuming the sugars in excess.
• Tooth decay
If you don’t brush and floss your teeth after consuming natural sugars, you might end up with tooth decay and other dental problems.
Refined sugars are obtained from processing plant materials. Some of the most common ones include:
• White/granulated sugar
This is usually obtained by processing sugar cane and sugar beets.
• Brown sugar
Brown sugar is obtained just like white sugar but is less refined and contains molasses. It is either light brown sugar or dark brown sugar depending on the processing applied. Molasses is usually a byproduct of the sugar refining process.
• Corn syrup
Corn syrup is made from corn starch and has the same sweetness as white sugar.
How Refined Sugar Differs from Natural Sugars
The two are different because there are some things that are present in refined sugars and present in natural sugars. Some of them include:
Benefits of Refined Sugars
• Provide energy for growth and maintenance
Refined sugars provide energy that the body requires for overall functioning. The sugars are easily digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. They provide the calories necessary for muscle growth and muscle recovery. Some health professionals usually advise diabetic patients to take refined or natural sugars immediately when they start experiencing symptoms of low blood sugar.
Bad Effects of Processed Sugars on Health
Some of the processed sugars contain chemicals that are considered carcinogenic. However, the likelihood of these chemicals causing cancer has not been properly established. Most people argue that the sugars are carcinogenic if they are consumed in excess.
• Weight gain
Just like natural sugars, refined sugars cause excessive weight gain whenever they are consumed in excess. The excess amount are converted to fat and glycogen and stored around the internal organs.
• May interfere with the insulin levels
Consumption of processed sugars, especially in excess, can cause the blood sugar level to increase by a large extent, stimulating the body to produce more insulin. High insulin level in the body is usually a bad factor for one’s health.
• Tooth decay
Just like natural sugars, refined sugars can also cause tooth decay if you don’t exercise proper dental hygiene.