Is all sugar created equal? With the diabetes epidemic that’s been sweeping America in full force today it’s good to know the facts where sugar and sugar substitutes are concerned. When you’re trying to eat a healthy balanced diet sugar can be an important part of the equation in total body health, like in fending off diabetes, heart disease, and other excess sugar related chronic diseases.
Americans typically consume much more sugar than is recommended for maintaining good health. According to the Centers For Disease Control and the NIH, in order to have a healthy diet your daily sugar intake should be less than 10 percent of a 2,000 calorie a day diet. So in other words, of your 2,000 calories no more than 200 of them should be from added sugars. Sex, age, socio-economic background, and ethnicity may contribute to your daily sugar intake according to the statistical nutritional studies carried out by the CDC.
Below you’ll find information that can be useful if you’re looking to have a healthy diet and/or even wish to shed a pound or two. By being more aware and mindful of the natural and added sugars in what you eat and drink, you’ll be in a better position to maintain a healthy diet while monitoring your sugar intake and that can lead to gradual, permanent weight loss and viola, welcome to a longer, healthier, and likely happier life.
Two Types of Sugar
There are basically two types of sugar in most American diets, natural and added. These are sugars that are found naturally (natural) in the foods you eat and sugar that you add (or are added in processing) to your food.
The natural sugar that’s found in the foods you consume such as milk and/or milk products is called lactose; in fruits it’s called fructose. This type of sugar is naturally occurring and isn’t altered or added in any way.
Added sugars would include any type of sweetener that’s added to foods and beverages either in the processing stage of food production or in the preparation stage before consumption, in other words like when you add sugar to your tea or coffee or sprinkle sugar over your breakfast cereal.
Added sugars and sweeteners may be in the form of a natural sugar such as white or brown sugar, honey or other natural sweeteners (i.e. agave), or as a chemically manufactured sweetener such as high fructose corn syrup that could be added to your fruit juice in processing for example. Another form of added sugar can come from natural sweeteners such as agave nectar, stevia, honey, and blackstrap molasses which are all natural sweeteners (or byproduct of a natural sweetener).
Familiarize Yourself With Added Sugars On Labels
Sadly, in this respect manufacturers don’t make it easy for you to determine how much added sugar is in the processed food. Nutrition labels on processed foods typically include (combine) both natural and added sugars but just give you a total sugars amount. The only way to tell is by looking at the ever so small ingredients list. The ingredients list will tell you if there are added sugars and what kind there are in the product, but it won’t tell you the exact amount if the product is combined with added and natural sugars.
Below Are Common Names For Added Sugars Manufacturers Use:
- Brown Sugar
- Sugar Molecules which end in “ose” i.e. dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, and sucrose
- Invert Sugar
- Malt Sugar
- Raw Sugar
- Corn Sweetener
- Corn Syrup
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
Just by being more mindful of the food and drinks you consume, reading ingredient labels and trying to eat more whole foods and less processed ones can help you to eat a healthier diet containing less added sugars. These simple mindful acts can also help you stave off diabetes and other serious sugar related diseases such as heart disease. And let’s not forget that extra bonus we all like, weight loss. Eating mindfully will help you to lose those extra pounds permanently simply because you’re eliminating unnecessary added sugar related calories. Eliminating those unwanted calories will result in life lasting weight loss if you make mindful eating a part of your healthy lifestyle from now on going forward.