The White Powder - What the Fruc????
The White Powder Part 2: What the FRUC??
Understanding Sugar and Sugar on Your Labels
What you should know is that sugar finds its way into our diets through a myriad of packaged, processed, or canned foods, as well as through salad dressings, processed meats, condiments, breakfast cereals, beverages, etc. There are different types of sugars and the roles they play also vary. Given below are the common types of naturally occurring sugar we encounter on a day to day basis:
· Fructose: Commonly extracted from corn, it comes with a low glycemic index (the rate that sugar from the food is absorbed by your body) although it does work in increasing insulin’s secretion in the pancreas. It occurs naturally in most fruits, and since fruits are good sources of fibre, minerals, and vitamins, looking at them to get your quota of fructose is a good idea.
· HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup): Derived mostly from genetically modified corn, this form of sugar is cheaper and sweeter than its cane derived counterpart, and is easily the most common type of sugar to be used in the food industry
· Agave Nectar: A relatively new sweetener; although a number of ‘claims’ have been made in regards to agave being good for health, the fact remains that it is high fructose. In fact, its fructose levels are considerably higher in comparison to those in maple syrup or honey. Agave nectar comes with more than 90% fructose.
· White Sugar: Derived from cane or beet, this form of sugar is refined as well as bleached. This processed food gives you nothing in the form of nutrition, and since it is completely devoid of nutrients, it actually works in depleting your body’s supply of vitamins and minerals.
Given that fructose is used in a number of seemingly ‘natural’ foods, a number of people tend to feel that fructose is healthy. Well… while fruits come with small amounts of fructose, the fructose we’re subjected to through most commercially prepared foodstuff is almost as refined as conventional white sugar. A significant portion of the fructose which comes your way will come in the form of HFCS. Highly refined, HFCS is chemically identical to white sugar, and can be found in an assortment of products like candies, colas, cookies, canned vegetables.
Limiting your fructose intake to around 25 grams is suggested if weight loss is your goal. And don’t despair there are healthier sweetening options:
· Honey: While honey is easily amongst the most healthy and natural form of sugar, the honey we commonly get is denaturized by being subjected to high temperatures which end up killing the naturally occurring friendly bacteria and enzymes. Honey is 55% fructose and 45% glucose, and the best kind of honey is unpasteurized, unfiltered, and raw. While its glucose-fructose ratio is similar to that of HFCS, raw honey also gives you antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Darker honey is believed to be richer in antioxidants.
· Stevia: This is a plant that is native to South Ameica, and its use as a sweetener has been around for centuries. It is approximately three hundred times sweeter in comparison to conventional sugar, and the fact that it comes with no reported toxicity or side effects make it my personal favourite sugar substitute.
· Other forms of natural sugars include- molasses, barley malt, brown rice syrup, and maple syrup. To retain their natural properties it is important that they should not be filtered, refined, or pasteurized.
· Brown Sugar: Also derived from cane or beet, brown sugar is not subjected to the bleaching process. Raw cane sugar is amongst the best alternatives when it comes to brown sugars, although there are various others as well. Also, since brown sugar is not refined, it works in retaining minerals, vitamins, and enzymes which are beneficial to the human body.
Keeping in mind that everything needs to be enjoyed in moderation, go enjoy yourself some honey!! We will be back for Part 3 of this series in a couple days and is definitely the most important of topics and these are manufactured sugars!