All About Sugar...

All About Sugar...

Author -  Good Health

No one can have escaped this year’s shocking sugar headlines: more addictive than tobacco, more dangerous than alcohol, more fattening than fat. Well, we certainly haven’t escaped it here at Good Health and we’re on a mission to cut down on sugar too!

Over the next seven weeks we’ll be talking about all things sugar to help encourage our…and hopefully your… ‘sugar quitting journey’.

An important starting point is to gain a better understanding of sugar and how it is processed by the body.

Sugar, i.e. Sucrose (a combination of Glucose and Fructose) and Fructose supply a significant portion of the total calories in a standard western diet.

Firstly, let’s talk about the difference between Fructose and Glucose…

Fructose is a type of Monosaccharide – Simple Sugar – a Carbohydrate that is twice as sweet as Sucrose. Fructose alone plays no special/essential part in human nutrition. Although Fructose loosely translates to “fruit sugar,” almost all fruits are a mix of fructose, glucose and sucrose, and in far lower amounts than what is found in most processed foods.
Glucose is also a type of Monosaccharide – Simple Sugar – a Carbohydrate that is made in the body and is also consumed via the diet. Glucose is the form of energy you were designed to run on. Every cell in your body uses glucose for energy. Glucose also comes from starches like potatoes, our bodies produce it and every cell on the face of the earth has glucose in it.

Glucose is a molecule absolutely vital to life. Fructose however, is not. Humans don’t produce Fructose and throughout evolutionary history never consumed it except in small amounts, seasonally when fruits were ripe.

Fructose from Added Sugars is Bad for you… Fruit is NOT
Fruits aren’t just watery bags of Fructose; they are real foods with a low energy density and lots of fibre. They’re hard to overeat and you’d have to eat huge amounts to reach harmful levels of Fructose. In general, fruit is a minor source of Fructose in the diet compared to added sugars.

The harmful effects of Fructose apply to a western diet, supplying excess calories and added sugars from things like sugary drinks and processed sweet foods. It does NOT apply to the natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables.

How are Glucose and Fructose metabolised by the body?

Glucose and fructose are metabolised very differently by the body.

The key thing to realise is that while every cell in the body can use Glucose, the liver is the only organ that can metabolise Fructose in significant amounts. When people eat a diet that is high in calories and high in Fructose, the liver gets overloaded and starts turning the Fructose into fat.

The bottom line is: Fructose consumption in high proportions leads to increased belly fat, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome and may be a key driver for a long list of chronic diseases like type II diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

So, next time you reach for a fizzy drink or 3pm chocolate treat, think again… perhaps a snack that’s just as delicious without all that added sugar may be a better choice. Our favourites are… a handful of mixed, unsalted nuts or a piece of natural, fresh, seasonal fruit – strawberries are a great option in the lead up to Christmas!

We’ll also be helping to reduce those sugar cravings with the amazing Sugar Stop. 

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Not all products recommended may be available in South Africa at this time