What You Need to Know About Natural vs. Added Sugars

What You Need to Know About Natural vs. Added Sugars on blog.fit2gomeal.com

Is added sugar the same as natural sugar?

Key takeaways:

  • Not all sugar is created equal
  • Natural vs. added sugar
  • 3 Tips for limiting your sugar intake

Most of us know that excessive sugar can be too much of a good thing. The sweetness we love in our favorite desserts and baked goods can wreak havoc on our bodies. Too much sugar can lead to weight gain, blood sugar problems, heart disease, and more.

Because of these serious health concerns, many people are trying to limit the amount of sugar in their diet. Unfortunately, cutting back on your sugar intake requires more than skipping dessert. Not only does sugar lurk in savory foods like bread and pasta sauce, but it may have a different effect on the body, depending on the type of sugar ingested.

Sound confusing? Well, you’re in luck. We’re breaking down the ins and outs of natural vs. added sugars so that you can make food choices with confidence while pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

Not all sugar is created equal

There’s a lot that can be said about the relationship between our food choices and our overall health. The components of a healthy diet encompass much more than just avoiding excess sugar, but reigning in your sweet tooth is a good place to start.

Still, you don’t have to cut all sugar out of your life, because not all sugar is created equal. The truth is, naturally occurring sugars like the ones found in fruits, dairy, and some vegetables digest differently than the added sugars in processed foods like cookies, snack cakes, and cereals.

When you choose to satisfy your sweet craving by reaching for a piece of fruit, your body is well-equipped to process and digest that sugar without the negative side effects. That’s not to say that you can eat unlimited natural sugar – it’s still sugar, and you can overdo it. But your morning banana isn’t going to make you obese.

Natural vs. added sugar

Sugar is a carbohydrate that the human body digests and turns into glucose, which is then used for energy. And, while all sugars share this basic essential definition, naturally occurring sugars are digested in conjunction with fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, water, and more. These additional elements ensure that the natural sugars do not immediately metabolize and flood the system with glucose, which is exactly what happens with added sugars.

Added sugars (also called refined sugar, or processed sugar) are sugars added during food processing – common added sugars include white sugar, brown sugar, sugar in the raw, and high-fructose corn syrup. These sugars are absorbed immediately by the body, which is why you get a quick burst of energy followed by a crash after your afternoon candy bar.

Three tips for limiting your added sugar intake

Even though we know the negative impact too much added sugar can have on our overall health, it can be challenging to reduce your intake. Every day we are confronted with tempting added sugar choices – the office donuts, the sweet fizzy drinks, the sweet-and-savory tomato sauce.

So, if you find your willpower waning, remember these three tips for keeping excess sugar out of your life:

  1. Focus on whole foods: Fruits, vegetables, and dairy can be a good source of high-quality natural sugar that won’t spike your blood sugar.
  2. Read nutrition labels: Sometimes the food that doesn’t taste sweet still has an alarming amount of added sugars. So read those labels, especially for common culprits like canned goods and condiments.
  3. Remember to eat regularly: Deprivation can trigger a binge and lower your willpower against temptation. So, eat regular meals when you are hungry and keep your body satisfied. If you aren’t starving, it’s much easier to make a healthy choice.

Need help keeping your diet on track?

Armed with the knowledge about what kind of sugar you should watch out for, you should be able to decipher good choices from bad ones the next time you hit the grocery store. Still, if you don’t feel like whipping out your detective hat and magnifying glass every time you want to eat, we might have an easier solution for sticking to a healthy diet.

Fit2Go is a healthy meal service that delivers freshly prepared meals right to your door. We empower people to improve their lives by encouraging healthy eating habits through portion control, balance, and convenience. We can help you create a menu to have the perfect meals delivered to you, fresh and ready to go. Contact us today!

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