Sugar is basically a carbohydrate, with each gram offering about 4 energy calories. Once ingested, carbohydrates are broken down by the body into blood sugar to provide energy for the various body processes, including powering the nervous system and the brain. While simple carbohydrates are easily broken down by the body, complex carbohydrates take a considerable period to be broken down. According to Medline Plus, a healthy person should get between 40 and 60 percent of his or her calories from carbohydrates, mainly the complex carbohydrates and natural sugar. In this article, you will get detailed information about natural sugar.
Main Types of Sugars: Natural Sugar & Refined Sugar
According to food experts and dietitians, natural sugar is the type of sugar that naturally exists in fruits and vegetables. This sugar exists in the form of fructose. However, some fruits and foods are also known to contain sucrose and glucose. These sugars are considered to be natural because they exist naturally on their own and are not manipulated or extracted by human beings. As such, once these sugars have been extracted by human beings and processed, they may not be sold as natural regardless of the source.
The question probably lingering in many people’s minds now is the raw sugar same as natural sugar? Actually, raw sugar, also referred to as tornado sugar, is a minimal refined sugar that is sugar cane-based. This type of sugar is produced by spinning in turbines or cylinders, hence it is named turbinado. It is characterized by brown and large crystals. Therefore, natural sugar is not raw sugar.
This kind of sugar is what people usually use in their daily life. Refined sugars are those that have been extracted from their natural sources and then gone through purification process. These processes turns them into a crystalline form, which is easy to add to foods. A good example of refined sugar is table sugar, which is extracted from either sugar beets or sugar cane. This processing of natural sugar destroys the natural nutrients in them. This type of sugar is also used in processed and prepared foods, in addition to being used in cooking and eating.
Is Natural Sugar Better Than Refined Sugar?
Regardless of the type, sugar mainly comprises of two things, glucose and fructose. In addition to this, the molecular structure of sugar particles is the same, regardless of the source and type. The ratio of glucose to fructose in both natural sugar and refined sugar is more or less the same. Again, the digestion and metabolism of both natural and refine sugars in the body is also the same. However, when it comes to the nutritional content, these two types of sugars have a huge difference. Natural sugar, such as the one found in fruits and vegetables, contains a lot of beneficial nutrients, including vitamins, water, antioxidants, etc. These components are not normally found in refined sugar. Additionally, fruits have less sugar by volume as compared to processed foods.
What's more, it is advisable to take natural sugar as compared to the refined alternative owing to the high fiber content in fruits. Fiber can help to slow down the body's digestion of glucose, thus your body can take more time to use up glucose instead of storing it as fat.
What Is the Safe Amount of Sugar to Have a Day?
Regardless of the type, excess amount of sugar in the body has various health implications. Some of the health complications associated with high sugar levels include elevating insulin and glucose responses, suppressing the immune system and increasing reactive oxygen species, which may result in cellular damage. Thus you'd better take control of the amount of sugar every day. Based on a report by the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of sugars that one can take in a day, mainly depending on the sex, is shown below:
•The male should take a maximum of 150 calories of sugar in a day (about 9 teaspoons or 37.5 gram)
•The females should take about 100 calories of sugar in a day (about 6 teaspoons or 25 gram)
However, some individuals, including the obese, overweight or those suffering from diabetes, should avoid intake of sugars at all cost. Additionally, it is not advisable to take sugars every now and then for them. For a healthy lifestyle, one should avoid taking sugary foods, such as baked goods, soft drinks and processed foods because they contain large amounts of sugar.