The Whole You
Do you know your sugars?
by Wendy Humphris ROHP
People have adopted the impression that sugar is bad for us. But not all sugar is bad. In fact, there are several types of sugars that are good for you, but do you know the difference?
Sugar is divided up into several different categories, scientifically speaking.
Monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, sugar alcohols, hemicelluloses, starches and celluloses.
Under the monosaccharide category we have our glucose, fructose, dextrose amongst others that many of us are familiar with. The disaccharide group contains sucrose and lactose and others. These are known as simple sugars that are easily and quickly digested by the body.
Fructose is a type of simple sugar that makes up 50% of table sugar (sucrose). Table sugar also consists of glucose, which is the main energy source for your body’s cells.
Fructose has been given a bad rap and as a result, fruit have been shunned by the public.
Fructose, when used as an added sugar can be quite harmful in excessive amounts and many studies suggest that a high fructose intake may contribute to chronic diseases in humans.
It's important to realize that all of this does not apply to whole fruit. Fruits aren't just watery bags of fructose, they are real foods with a low calorie density and lots of fiber.
They're hard to overeat on and you would have to eat very large 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. It does not apply to the natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables.
We need sugar and fruit especially for energy production.
Some of the most powerful and healthy fruits to take in include pineapple, blueberries, and avocado and of course you know what they say about the every popular apple.
Taking in fructose in the form of whole fruits and vegetables and honey is a good thing for your body.
Limiting your intake of ‘added’ sugars like fructose is imperative to lasting health. The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of sugar you get from sugar-sweetened drinks, pastries, desserts, breakfast cereals, and more, mainly to avoid gaining weight. But it is also important protect against liver and artery damage.
Eat that banana, indulge in some berries, use fruit as your afternoon snack for a quick and healthy pick-me-up, and don't worry about the sugar count.
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Wendy Humphris, ROHP
I’m a holistic nutritionist and I transform health for a living.