Sugar is a carbohydrate that converts into glucose and makes use of energy. However, the effect on your body is dependent on the type of sugar you consume. You must be careful of the different types of sugars and get the right one.
Natural vs. Refined Sugars
There are two main types of sugar: natural and refined. Natural sugars can be found in fruits, vegetables, yogurt, milk, and honey, while refined sugar is made by purifying raw cane juice or even beet juice.
Natural sugar is the healthier option. It contains fewer calories than refined sugar. This means that it can be taken daily without elevating blood sugar levels. Natural sugar also has some nutritional value (vitamins and minerals), whereas refined sugary has none.
Natural sugars are typically unprocessed, not exposed to chemicals, or bleached. This is why natural sugar has a milky white color compared with refined sugars – the latter is stripped of nutrients and is therefore usually bright white.
Features of Refined Sugars
- They are sweeter – natural sugar has a mild taste compared with refined sugar.
- They have a longer shelf life. This makes it easier for food manufacturers to sell them as they can stay preserved for a long time.
- It isn’t easy to know the exact amount of refined sugars in processed foods as manufacturers do not need to specify how much they have added.
Although natural sugars offer fewer calories than refined, this does not mean that you can eat as much as you want of them without any consequences. It would be best to monitor the quantities and ensure that you did not exceed your daily limits. This is especially important if you are trying to lose weight.
You should also avoid artificial or substitute sugars as they are not any healthier than refined sugar. For instance, high fructose corn syrup is made by processing cornstarch until it turns into a sweet syrup – this results in a chemical composition similar to that of table sugar.
Features of Natural Sugars
- They are more expensive compared with refined sugars.
- Some people complain that natural sugars do not have a long shelf life and can rot quickly, which poses a problem for food manufacturers who want to store them for a long time.
- They contain antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins making them very useful for your body.
So if you’re choosing between natural vs. refined sugars, opt for the natural option. However, it is not advisable to consume large quantities of natural sugars as they still contain calories and cause obesity. Speak to a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your sugar intake.
The choice between natural and refined sugary depends on personal preference and should be considered carefully before buying any product that contains sugar. You need to assess the product’s nutritional value and balance it with your dietary requirements. Natural sugars provide some nutritional value, but refined sugar lacks any nutrients, so the former should be preferred where possible.
It is important to note how your body metabolizes refined sugar differently from its metabolizing of natural sugars. Natural sugars, such as fruits and vegetables, are generally healthier for you because they contain a good supply of fiber. Fiber helps slow down digestion and adds bulk to your food – it also has fewer calories than refined sugar.
In contrast, refined sugar is quickly digested as all the fibers have been removed from it during processing. In addition, the body starts to metabolize refined sugar as soon as it enters your bloodstream, which means that there is a sudden spike in insulin levels. This results in a “sugar rush” – the feeling of being energetic after eating sugary foods. After this initial high, however, you will be likely to feel tired and sluggish.
The best way to reduce the amount of refined sugar in your diet is to avoid refined sugar. You should avoid buying processed foods and try cooking at home. So you can know exactly what ingredients go into your food and adjust them according to your needs. For example, you could replace white bread with whole wheat bread and use raw sugar instead of white sugar.
In addition, you should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as they contain natural sugars that are better for your health. You could also replace the refined added sugars with other sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup, which offer fewer calories than refined, processed sugars.
Although research has not concluded the dangers of natural processed sugars, evidence suggests that excessive intake of sugary foods could lead to obesity and, in turn, cancer. Obesity leads to inflammation which can encourage tumor growth.
Obesity is associated with different cancers such as breast, uterine, colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer. On the other side, natural sugars are rich in antioxidants that reduce cancer risk.
Therefore, it is best to replace processed sugars with natural ones wherever possible. Natural sugars are not only better for your health, but they also taste better.
It is recommended that you consume whole food as they contain all the nutrients. While, if you use processed foods, only a tiny percentage of the nutrients are left in them. Opt for natural sugars rather than refined sugars as they provide more nutrients.
Whether you choose refined or natural sugar should depend on your personal preference. However, it is advisable to reduce your intake of sugary foods, even if they are natural. This is because high sugar levels in the body could lead to obesity and inflammation, encouraging tumor growth.
Natural sugars have their benefits but are still high in calories, so they should not be consumed in large quantities. Also, try to avoid refined, processed sugar because it is processed and lacks nutrients. The refined sugars can dramatically increase your chances of getting cancer. On the other hand, natural sugars have antioxidants that are very beneficial in reducing the growth of tumor cells. It is also recommended to talk with your doctor about your sugar intake.