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All the sweet facts about Sugar (Part 1)

Sugar

All the sweet facts about S U G A R (Part 1)

There has been much hype about sugar over the past few years... most bad... however how much do you actually know about the different types of sugar and exactly what is or is not good for our bodies?

Sugar comes in many forms, the main being glucose and fructose, it is a type of carbohydrate which provides our bodies with energy. When we eat carbs, our bodies break them down into our primary source of simple sugar known as glucose which our blood readily absorbs. In terms of energy, it is the essential source provided by carbohydrates however, it is when we consume too much (particularly of the wrong sugar) that it starts to impact our health with conditions such as diabetes, insulin resistance and obesity.

On average, an Australian adult consumes 53kg of sugar each year.... that's a whole lot of sweetness! Eating refined sugars full of empty calories and no nutritional value is where a lot of people get in trouble. Where does sugar come from? Natural sources come from plants such as sugar beets and sugar cane and other sources which don't need refining are sugars from honey and fruits. Don't be mistaken in thinking vegetables don't contain sugars as carrots, corn and sweet potato all contain their fair share.

So if sugars come from plants, fruit and vegetables what makes people think they are so bad?? Processed sugars are actually produced to be chemically identical to the above however the difference is they have been completely stripped of any nutritional value.... why are they produced? Processed sugars provide a quick fix to needing a burst of energy as well as being cheap, convenient, simple to produce, provide added taste, thickness and bulk to a product. So how do these processed nasties impact your body? As these sugars are lacking any nutritional value, the energy provided by them burns quickly leaving you hungry sooner or craving more which can in turn be stored as fat.

The most important thing to remember is that natural sugars are not bad, in fact your body requires them to function. Aiming to eat the recommended daily intake of all the food groups as per the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/) will ensure you are eating sugars which are good for your body. Processed foods such as lollies, soft drinks (which contain between 7-10% sugar), snack bars (up to 70% sugar), cakes etc. are what you need to be mindful of, as these products leave you with empty calories and can potentially lead to excess body fat and worse of all chronic diseases.

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