Many people believe that all sugar is bad for you. However, they are not considering the differences between added sugar and the sugar that are naturally present in foods, like fruit. When you ask if sugar is bad for you, you have to start by asking which type of sugar.
The Problem with Sugar
Many nutritionists don’t have a problem with sugar when used in moderation. It’s sugar used in excess that’s the problem. It can not only lead to weight gain, it can also cause metabolic issues. When the body processes sugar, it breaks it down into glucose and fructose.
The glucose is metabolized by your body. The fructose goes to your liver, which turns it into triglycerides, which are a form of fat. In high levels, triglycerides and a low HDL can lead to heart disease. This combination according to some experts can cause more damage than the LDL cholesterol, which is considered the bad kind.
Added sugar in some form is in many of the processed foods you eat. There are hundreds of different names used for sugar, so it’s difficult for most people to know exactly what they’re eating. Some products add white processed sugars which are similar to the sugars found in fruit. However, the majority of processed foods use high-fructose corn syrup which is an inexpensive alternative to standard white sugar.
The main problem with high-fructose corn syrup is that it has more fructose than sugar. The amount of fructose may be as high as 60 percent compared to the 50 percent in white sugar. This means that the more foods or beverages you consume that contain high-fructose corn syrup, the more triglycerides your body will produce.
If you combine the high levels of added sugar in some foods with the high fat content and lack of nutrients, you can see how sugar can be an issue for a person. It can lead to obesity and the health issues that go along with weight gain. And because of the increased triglycerides, there’s the risk of heart disease.
Dairy, fruits, and vegetables are a major source of natural sugars. However, fruit contains fiber. Fiber aids in digestion and slows down the rate of sugar absorption. Fiber can also reduce the amount of food, and sugar, that you can consume because it makes you feel full faster.
This only applies to food in its natural state. When food is processed into dried fruit or fruit juices, the composition of the food changes. Dried fruit contains concentrated sugar and fruit juice lacks the fiber needed to process the sugar.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that an adult who consumed more than 15 percent of their calories from added sugar, was at a higher risk for heart disease. This doesn’t just mean people need to reduce their consumption of junk food. It means that it’s more important than over for people to pay attention to their food labels.
Because most of the added sugars in food are “hidden” sugars, you must pay attention to how many grams of added sugar you consume each day. And if you feel the need for something sweet grab an apple or a melon, you’ll get the sugar you crave, without the health hazards.