You go to the restaurant to have a night of feast. After eating the main course, here comes the dessert. You see the very delicious looking cake and your mouth starts to water, you see the bars of chocolate waiting to get devoured, you see the perfect cup of crème brûlée with your twinkling eyes, aren’t desserts the best? Admit it or not, almost every one of us goes crazy when it comes to dessert; but the truth is we will always have a love-hate relationship with those delectable dishes. Perhaps, this may be because of how overeating dessert or sugar, in general, can affect our bodies.
Sugar: The Energy-Giving Carbohydrate
As we all know, the sugar we consume is considered a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are essential in maintaining a healthy body, though sometimes they are misinterpreted and thought to be bad. Sugar, however, just like any other carbohydrate, only gets dangerous when misused; an example is when a person tends to eat more than the required amount. So if anyone says intake of carbohydrates is bad for the body, do not believe them. Carbohydrates are important and they serve as a macronutrient; meaning they are one of the top sources of energy for our body.
If you think the only purpose of sugar is to be used as a food sweetener, well you thought wrong. There is more to sugar than being a sweetener. Yes, it may be what it’s known for; but sugar is composed of complex elements wherein it can make a huge impact in the body. Plus, enough amounts will never cause problems for the body, therefore the stereotyping of sugar being bad should at least be stopped by now.
Sugars have different forms but they are all broken down the same way in our bodies; and yes, our body does make its own sugar. The sugar that people pertain to as natural-occurring are those that are produced by natural means; they are found in our bodies and naturally found in foods, but there also those that are used for processed foods and also for cooking purposes.
Variety of Natural Sugar
Normally, there are 4 common varieties of natural sugar to exist. They are:
Out of all the kinds of sugar, the glucose can be considered as a natural product of the human body. However, it is also produced by plants, since it is the result of plant photosynthesis. This kind of sugar is totally good for the body; when it is consumed, it is transformed into an energy source and broken down into another form called glycogen. The glycogen is an essential fuel that keeps the liver and muscles to function properly.
Fructose, or fruit sugar, is the sugar content of fruits. It gives off the natural sweetness in fruits and just like the fructose content in sugar cane, can be derived and made into table sugar (sucrose). Also, each fruit has its own different fructose content. This is noticeable depending on how sweet the fruit is.
Sucrose is normally pertained to as table sugar, but it is also a natural sugar content that is commonly found in sugar canes and most fruits and vegetables. Chemically speaking, sucrose is a combined composition of the other natural sugars fructose and glucose.
The sugar content we get from milk and dairy products is called lactose. When consumed, it is broken down by the lactase enzymes in order for it to easily absorbed in the body. The term lactose intolerant pertains to people who lack the required amount of lactase for the breaking down and absorption of lactose from milk, therefore their bodies react differently and they cause digestive issues.
Fun Facts About Sugar
Throughout the years, a lot of misconception about sugar has been established. Sadly, these accusations are ruining the image of the carbohydrate. So how about we get to know a few important facts about sugar?
Sugar is easy to burn
Many people believed that sugar is very hard to burn, so they prefer not getting some or just very few amounts of it. Little do they know that a single teaspoon of sugar can only be burned for 15 minutes, and the burning will take place even by simply walking or by chatting away with your friends. Very easy, right?
Your weight gain isn’t primarily caused by sugar
Sure, that box of dozen donuts was probably the reason why you have gained weight but it isn’t the sugar content of that particular food that should be blamed here. For instance, even when you eat sugar-free food, you will still gain weight. This is because the main cause of weight gain is calories, and all the food we eat contain calories, and it varies too. So you want to lose weight? Kick back on your calorie intake.
Added sugar is not a natural sugar
As previously stated, natural sugars are those that are made naturally from biological products. These are the kinds of sugar that one cannot stop from happening. Added sugar, however, is also called as sweeteners; and most of the time they can also be pertained to as artificial sweeteners. From their name, we can say that they are indeed not natural.
Although the added and natural sugars are completely different from one another, the body seems to have no issues with regard to their differences. It just shows how the body reacts the same to both kinds of sugar, especially when breaking them down; the process is just the same.
Required Daily Intake of Sugar
So, sugar is not necessarily bad for the body, but please always remind yourself that everything should have limits.
Sugar intake became a huge problem when people do tend to enjoy desserts and sweets more, and this phenomenon has boosted the sugar consumption specifically the added sugar. Added sugar, compared to naturally occurring sugar, is not that healthy. It somehow became the main cause of the problem with obesity.
Therefore, the American Heart Association became considered and decided to release suggested amounts of sugar that each person must consume in a day. According to them, this is the advisable and healthy maximum of sugar consumption, specifically added sugar:
- Men should only consume a maximum of 150 calories a day, this is equal to 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons.
- Women should get only around 100 calories for one day, this is equal to 25 grams or 6 teaspoons.