Welcome back to Health and Wellness Fridays! I trust that you have conquered your week and that today was like the icing on the cake whereby things just got better. 🙂
Please accept my apologies for not posting last week. Today, we’re going to be looking at sugar.
“Sugar” is that special ingredient added to many of our beverages and baked goods that just makes them taste better or rather should I say sweeter. 🙂 Unfortunately, sugar has attained a negative reputation over the years as more and more knowledge about the side effects of overindulging in its consumption come to the forefront.
However, not all sugar is bad for us and this is where the acquisition and understanding of information is so important.
Did you know?
There are two main classifications of sugars: added or refined sugars and natural sugars.
Added or refined sugars include: refined white sugar (sucrose), brown sugar, honey and syrups that are added to food. These added sugars are called simple carbohydrates and they provide little nutritional value and can cause spikes in blood glucose levels. This is the sugar that most people advise that we reduce consumption of or abstain from.
Natural sugars on the other hand, are sugars that occur naturally in fruits and milk. These sugars are called complex carbohydrates and they provide nutrition and help regulate blood sugar.
So you see, not all sugars are bad for us but we need to know what to look out for.
Types of Sugars
Although sugar can be classified into two main groups, it can be further broken down into three categories: white sugars, brown sugars and liquid sugar. Within each of these categories are even more sugars, some of which I only learned about during the course of my research to be honest. Let’s take a closer look.
Some white sugars include:
- Bakers Special Sugar
- Castor/Caster Sugar
- Confectioners or Powdered Sugar
- Coarse Sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Sanding Sugar
- Superfine, Ultra Fine, or Bar Sugar
Some brown sugars include:
- Brown sugar (light and dark)
- Demerara Sugar
- Muscovado or Barbados Sugar
- Turbinado Sugar
Liquid sugar or (sucrose) is basically white granulated sugar that is dissolved in water before it is used.
Invert Sugar – is the sugar we get from splitting sucrose into its two component sugars (glucose and fructose). Fructose is sweeter than either glucose or sucrose. Invert sugar is therefore sweeter than white sugar.
Some benefits or the ‘sweet side’ of sugar as it relates to the body include:
- Energy booster – glucose is the body’s primary source of fuel, and it comes from the breakdown of sugar.
- Help us store energy – After glucose is converted into energy for immediate use, the body will store some of the glucose as an energy reserve for later.
- Instantly improve our mood – sugar activates the pleasure center of our brain and causes a rush of dopamine. This will produce an immediate, euphoric feeling.
- Natural Sugar Sources Come With Added Nutrients – dairy products, fruits and veggies all provide natural sugars in addition to fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and hydration. You can indulge in all the natural sweets you want without creating unhealthy insulin spikes.
- Skin health – Sugar’s glycolic acid can be very helpful in maintaining the health and look of your skin. Using it can help elimination blemishes and restoring the balance in the skin’s oils.
Some of the negatives or the ‘bitter side’ of indulging in too much refined sugars include:
- Weight gain that could lead to obesity.
- Spike of blood sugar that can lead to diabetes.
- Leave you feeling overly energized or hyperactive
- Increase cholesterol levels that can ultimately lead to heart disease.
- Create insulin resistance
- Create a resistance to the hormone called Leptin
- Cause dental cavities
After reading the above my hope is that you’ve gained a better understanding and appreciation for the bitter-sweet of sugar. Refined sugars bring that quick fix we’re sometimes looking or craving for but too much of it can be harmful. Natural sugars are healthier for us that’s a fact but they aren’t ideal for every situation or occasion. This is where using our moderation and discretion comes in.
So dear friends, weigh the pros and cons of what you’re eating and strive to improve the areas of your eating habits that can be harmful to your health.
In life there are a few things we just have no control over but we do have some control over how sweet we want our lives to be.
Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend.