Sugar has been under scrutiny for sometime now…
When we (me, you, the media, doctors, health professionals etc etc) talk about sugar, usually, all sugars are dumped into the one sugar bowl.
There are however, many different type of sugars in our diets and each play different roles nutritionally. The important thing to understand is that not all sugars are created equal!! Here are some quick (& hopefully easily understood) facts!
Ó There are two types of carbohydrates – simple and complex.
Ó Simpler forms of carbs are called sugars and the complex forms are often referred to as starches or dietary fibres. They have of course far more scientific names but no need to go into that now! The end product of any carbohydrate – simple or complex – is sucrose = sugar!
Ó The common simple sugars are – glucose/galactose/fructose.
Ó Glucose (also called dextrose and blood sugar) is the principal sugar used in the body.
Ó Fructose (also called levulose) is found in fruit, honey and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Ó Galactose – for the purpose of this blog, gets a ‘don’t go there’ pass, we are not going to talk about- it is not the one doing the damage!!
Ó Fructose my friends is the bad guy – he is the one getting the bad wrap! Does he deserve to you may ask?…well yes and …no! But the yes in our fast moving, convenient society that we live in, outweighs the no!
Ó Fructose of all the natural occurring sugars, is sweeter – 1.73 times more sweeter than sucrose (table sugar) and sucrose is 30% sweeter than glucose.
Ó Food manufacturers now use fructose (converted into high fructose corn syrup), because of its sweetness and low manufacturing costs as a food sweetener.
Ó When we consume carbohydrates, proteins and fats – appetite hormones are used to regulate our intake and keep us in balance.
Ó When we consume fructose, no appetite hormones are switched on and as a result we can consume way too much of it. The general consensus is, this goes back to our cave men relatives who rarely came across a berry bush ..but when they did they ate the entire bush because who knows how many months would pass before they saw one again!
Ó Nearly all fructose metabolisation unlike glucose, takes place in the liver. It can then be stored as glycogen (the body’s glucose bank) for future energy needs. T
he problem is often our glycogen stores are at capacity ( because of our high sugar diets..so then what? Answer: the fructose is converted to triglycerides…which are taken up in our blood stream then stored as FAT!
And there it is..why fructose gets the bad wrap. Remember as mentioned earlier, (due to its low production cost and high sweetness), we are now consuming, often unknowingly, too much fructose and all of its derivatives in our diet.
Unfortunately… and a lot of it is ending up in a place where we don’t particularly want it…our fat stores. So next blog I will give you an idea of all the places fructose is hiding….
Be Healthy Happy & Amazing!