Today we are focusing on what different types of sugar & sweeteners do to the human body.
Sugar: if you’re trying to lose weight fast, it’s your worst enemy and something that you should avoid as much as possible. However, this is easier said than done because it comes in many forms and is often in disguise, lurking in foods we might not always expect. Food labels can be confusing and unfortunately, sugar is rarely labelled ‘sugar’ making it all the more confusing. You may be tempted to turn to calorie free sweeteners, but they come with bad news of their own. Here is what you need to know about sugar and sweeteners:
Dextrose, fructose and glucose
These are all simple sugars which enter the blood stream quickly and are then converted to fat. The key is to watch out for ingredients ending in ‘ose’ on food label and avoid them!
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
55% fructose and 45% glucose and possibly the most damaging of all sugars. A highly refined form of sugar, there is a correlation between the rise of diabetes in the USA along with the rise of the use of HFCS in foods. Found in everything from fizzy drinks and even some breads.
Xylitol, glycerol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol and erythritol are all known as sugar alcohols. These are neither sugars nor alcohols but are being increasingly used as sweetners. They are incompletely absorbed in your small intestine meaning that they provide fewer calories than sugar, however they can often cause bloating, diarrhoea and flatulence (nice!)
Sucralose, aspartame and saccharin are the most common artificial sweeteners although they come branded under a number of names. These are NOT a consequence free alternative to sugar. They come with a long list of potential damaging side effects and the most recent research shows that they can actually promote weight gain.
Falsely advertised as ‘natural’ agarve syrup is highly refined and usually around 80% fructose. It doesn’t remotely resemble the original agave plant.
Without doubt the best bet for those of you with a sweet tooth. Stevia is a very sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, which is completely safe. This does not raise your blood sugar and is now widely available in the supermarket.