Few nutrients evoke as strong emotions as sugar.
Someone refuses it altogether, another finds its warning of the dangers in vain.
But are they even talking about the same sugar?
There are many types of sugars:
- The white sugar found in an ordinary sugar bag is sucrose obtained from sugar beet.
- The substance marked sugar on the side of the milk can is the milk sugar, or lactose, that is naturally present in milk.
- In addition to sucrose, fruits and berries contain fructose.
- Glucose, on the other hand, is grape sugar that is present in, for example, sucrose, lactose, and cereal starch.
All sugars are natural, but some are added and some are found in foods naturally.
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Some of the sugars are visible, some are hidden.
Therefore, confusion and misunderstandings are difficult to avoid.
The function of sugar is to provide energy quickly. It is most rapidly absorbed by the body as a liquid.
Sugared juice is a valuable first aid, for example, for a diabetic whose blood sugar has collapsed. Otherwise, ordinary sugar, or sucrose, would not have to be eaten at all.
– The brain uses sugar as an energy source in the form of glucose, which is also present in sucrose. However, the body can digest it quite enough from other foods, says the nutritionist Hanna Partanen.
… which is not to be abandoned
However, totally avoiding sugar can make life difficult, as many foods use it. And sometimes it’s wonderful to bury your teeth in a Berlin donut!
– It is not advisable to give up sugar altogether, not least because it is good to maintain flexibility in eating. When nothing is completely forbidden, there is also no need to stress if you ever celebrate and treat yourself.
According to nutritional recommendations, no more than ten percent of your daily energy should come from added sugar. For an adult, that means a little or a good half a deciliter, depending on energy needs. The number may sound large, but a large proportion of Finns eat that much every day.
– This is a maximum amount, which means that you can very well eat less sugar. However, the recommendation allows for a reasonable treat, Partanen recalls.
Slight differences in sugars
- BEET SUGAR, or sucrose, is the cheapest but nutritionally poorest sugar.
- Fruit sugar, or fructose, which tastes similar, is sweeter. It needs less than regular sugar. Fructose is also absorbed slightly more slowly than regular sugar.
- SPECIAL SUGARS, such as coconut sugar, contain small amounts of fiber and trotting, which slow down the absorption of sugar. In this way, blood sugar rises more slowly than with sucrose. It is a good feature, but it is still influenced by many factors other than the quality of the sugar used.
- WHOLE CANE SUGAR is dark and contains some minerals. If it were eaten with an average daily maximum amount of sugar, about half a deciliter, it would come with 120 milligrams of calcium, the same amount as you get from a deciliter of milk or yogurt. The iron would be 2.3 milligrams, or the same amount as two slices of post-oven rye bread.
Expert: Hanna Partanen, nutritionist.
This article has appeared in Good Health magazine. As a subscriber, you can read all numbers free of charge from the digilehdet.fi service
Source: Hyvä Terveys by www.hyvaterveys.fi.
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