Eating sugar can be healthy for you if done in moderation. That’s the key as most of us love sweet foods and drinks. The problem arises when we eat too much sugar. Excessive sugar consumption can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease.
Eating Sugar: Why?
Our bodies need one type of sugar, called glucose, to survive. Glucose is important for brain function and also is a key source of fuel throughout the body.
The problem, however, is that many of us just overdue it. Sugar can be found in just about every food we eat. All you have to do is read the labels.
There is no need to add extra glucose to your diet. Your body can extract glucose from the sugars and other carbohydrates in your food. It can also produce new glucose, mostly in the liver. That’s why you can survive for a long time without eating. For example, fruits provide natural sugar and is also healthy for you.
Eating Sugar: Processed Foods Are Deadly
Much of the sugar we eat isn’t found naturally in food but is added during processing or preparation. They’re added to make foods and drinks taste better.
Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and energy drinks, are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet. Juices naturally contain a lot of sugar. But sometimes, even more is added to make them taste sweeter.
It’s Time To Cut Back
Because of these harmful effects, physicians recommend that Americans cut back on added sugars. About 15% of the calories in the American adult diet now come from this source. Experts recommend a daily limit to no more than 10% of your daily calories.
Learn to identify sugar on the product food labels. They can be listed as sucrose (table sugar), corn sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup, and fruit-juice concentrates. Other names are nectars, raw sugar, malt syrup, maple syrup, fructose sweeteners, liquid fructose, honey, molasses, or anhydrous dextrose.
Another way to recognize it on the food label is if you see any word ending in “-ose,” the chemical suffix for sugars. Or if you see it under the category called “Total Carbohydrate.”
Many people try cutting back on calories by switching from sugar-sweetened to diet foods and drinks that contain low- or no-calorie sweeteners. These artificial sweeteners—also known as sugar substitutes—are many times sweeter than table sugar, so smaller amounts can create the same level of sweetness.
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