Sugars are either naturally occurring or added artificially.
Sugars, hidden sugar and synthetic sugar…it is all just clutter that narrows down to this - sugar in your food is there either naturally or as an additive by your producer during production.
Naturally occurring sugar include:
- Fructose in fruits (fresh and canned), honey,
- Glucose in dates, figs, cereals
- Lactose in milk
- Maltose from sweet potatoes, peaches and pears
- Sucrose in sugar cane, carrots and beet
( All these are in their raw unprocessed forms)
Sugar generally includes the monosaccharides and disaccharides which are short chain carbohydrates. Others include long-chain carbohydrates e.g oligosaccharides like inulin and raffinose in some legumes and vegetables. These have a sweet taste but are usually not classified as sugar.
Added sugar comes in two forms.
*First we have the natural added sugar like honey.
*Second is the synthetic sugar like caramel.
The natural ones are the better option as they are less refined. They are natural -true- but not naturally occurring in the key ingredients of your food.
They have several names which are discussed further below. A good example is malt from malted wheat or barley added in wines and bread.
Vitaminfood’s taste is good enough talk for us…not very sweet but we try and make it tastier while still healthy.
Stevia is the sweetener we use.
Stevia is not a sugar but rather a sugar substitute. It is a plant extract with stevioside which is an incredibly sweet compound; 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. A sweetener with benefits rather than side-effects.
Stevia as a component in Vitaminfood products is discussed separately.
Is sugar important in the diet?
Sugar is a sweetener in diets. That is the reason many food companies add sugar…for taste and flavor. Any average person would almost obviously choose the sugar diet over the zero-sugar diets. Taste is a great selling point but an equally great health compromiser.
Added sugar is essential in enhancing the taste to have an appetizing snack or meal.
But are added sugars important in the body?
Sadly not, what your tongue craves is not what the body needs!
Your body has no need whatsoever for added sugars. It doesn’t obtain any carbs from the added sugars.
”Too Much Sugar Isn't So Sweet for Your Health… It’s important to be aware of how much sugar you consume because our bodies don’t need sugar to function properly. Added sugars contribute zero nutrients but many added calories that can lead to extra pounds or even obesity, thereby reducing heart health, “this is a direct quote from a leading Heart Research Organisation.
Added sugars eventually paralyze and reduce efficiency of various systems.
Are there healthy added sugars?
All sugars are processed the same way by the body and all they leave is extra calories which are unhealthy and linked to cancer, diabetes and heart diseases among other complications.
Some may have less severe side effects, less calories or take longer before affecting you but they are probably not the ones your producers are using to get that savory taste. That taste which you don’t seem to get enough of. The food industry has been so crowded with revenue generation skims such that nutrition is no longer a primary concern.
How often then are these sugars found in my diets?
More often than you might think.
Those nutrient labels ending in –ose and some like agave nectar. They are all just a coloration to blind you from the calories you are getting. Sure they could be natural added sugars but do you need the extra calories?
Where they must be listed in the nutritional factsheets, many different forms of additives may be used complementarily to trick you. It all calls on consumers to widen their knowledge on sugars, a tiresome and unfortunate thing that has to be done.
In your fruit juices, bread, desserts, candy, ice cream and shakes.
Low fat dairy products and other healthier alternatives are indeed better but just not up to the notch. Do not take our word for it… do your own fact checking with a few samples and see how often it is.
List of alternative names for added sugars:
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Agave nectar
- Maple syrup
- Raw sugar
- Corn sweeteners
- Crystalline fructose
- Invert sugar
- Cane/ cone syrup
- Fructose syrup
All these are added for taste, preservation, bulking, texture, flavor and fermentation.
THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF ADDED SUGARS.
There are certainly multiple studies and articles covering this topic and here is what they say about added sugars.
- Weight gain – by now you already understand that all you get from added sugars is extra calories. These have no place in the body and result in rapid weight gain and obesity. Extra calories really push your waistline.
Most foods with added sugars are highly refined and low in fibre so eating them does not give the filling effect. The result is you develop an urge to snack often and thus add more calories.
- Poor nutrition
Added sugars are highly refined and so are the foods they flavor. Refining means stripping away of components that are nutritious. The result, a non-nutritive meal. This is by no means complete nutrition.
If cultured into a habit, consuming highly refined foods leaves you nutrient deficient.
- Heart complications
This can be directly or indirectly.
Direct effects include high-sucrose diet resulting in skyrocketing of both systolic and diastolic pressure.
Indirect effects include sugar causing sodium to accumulate in cells which then causes fluid imbalance and hypertension.
Sugar affects the blood lipid levels and strains the heart. Glucose-6 molecule for example, reduces the function of the heart muscles and could eventually lead to heart failure.
- Increased cancer risks
Underlying health conditions that are directly linked to cancer such as obesity are directly linked to sugar. So sugar might not directly cause the abnormal growth of cancer cells but causes the conditions leading to cancer. It also nourishes the cancer cells just like it does every other cell of the body.
In order to prevent this indirect linkage and cumulative effect, it is important to watch your sugar levels to avoid the high-risk circumstances.
- Increased triglycerides and diabetes.
Triglycerides might be a precursor to type 2 diabetes. An increase above normal shows that your food to energy metabolism is not in functioning optimally.
Beverages have been secluded as the leading source of increased triglycerides. Among the sugar types, fructose is processeddifferently from other sugars and can lead to the excess triglycerides.
It is part of the bodies’ natural healing process from toxins. Added sugars can be that toxin.
They result in obesity, insulin resistance and increased gut permeability to bacteria and fungi. Added sugars when combined with fats in the blood stream also produce harmful Advanced Glycation End products(AGEs).
While added sugars cause the problem, several natural sugars have an anti-inflamatory effect.
- False high from dopamine release
Sugar causes release of dopamine in the part of the brain associated with motivation and rewards- the nucleus accumbens.
Food addiction - yes, it is a real thing. Your body craves more of the sugar every time setting up a progressive reward cycle. You end being addicted to an unhealthy high-sugar diet routine.
The recommended daily limits of sugar intake:
(1g of added sugar = 4 calories.)
No more than 10% of your calorie intake; they arent going to be used anyway.
0% added sugar for children below 2 years.
100 calories of added sugar for children above 11 years and most women
150 calories of added sugar for men.
Vitaminfood’s stand on added sugars.
Our mission is to provide simple sustainable complete nutrition. Added sugar does not play a part and so we include no hidden sugar, artificial sweeteners or synthetic sugar.
Vitaminfood has absolutely no hidden sugars, flavors, sweeteners or any other substance in the artificial sugars genre. No component at all that would endanger your health.