Sugar can be very unhealthy for your body. Most dietary restrictions involve cutting down on carbohydrates and calories. If you’re overweight, obese or run the risk of being diabetic, it is all the more important for you to monitor your sugar intake. However, as said before, sugar is a generic term for different types of carbohydrates. Not all of them have the same impact on the body. Read on to know more about the different types of sugars and how they affect the body.
Sugars, or simple carbohydrates, are molecules of simple sugars such as glucose, fructose, and galactose. These are known as monosaccharides. When two of these molecules join together, they form disaccharides such as sucrose and lactose.
- Glucose is one of the simplest sugars. It is used for energy production by the cells since it is easy to break down and absorb. It is ideal when the body needs extra energy, for instance, during an intense workout. But if it goes unused, it gets stored as fat. The body needs a basic amount of glucose to fuel itself. But excess amounts of blood sugar levels can lead to Type 2 diabetes. This is why it is important to control the intake of sweet and sugary food.
- Fructose is also a simple sugar that is low on the glycemic index. It does not affect blood glucose levels immediately. It does not get stored as fat, it is transported to the liver, where it is converted into triglycerides or fat molecules. A higher percentage of fructose increases the risk of heart disease and even contributes to fat and weight gain. Fructose is naturally found in fruits and vegetables. It is considered healthy when consumed in low concentration.
- Galactose is not the most prime component of our diet. It is synthesized from glucose in the body. Galactose, once consumed, is converted to glucose for the daily energy requirement. Ingestion of galactose results in lower blood glucose and controlled insulin levels.
- Lactose is a disaccharide formed when glucose and galactose join together. It forms about 40% of milk’s calories. Since the body has to split the components during digestion, the absorption rate is lower, thus marking it lower on the glycemic index than glucose.
- Sucrose is formed from glucose and fructose comes from sugarcane. It is actually the table sugar that we use on a daily basis. It’s found naturally but also added to processed foods. It also needs to be broken down for the body to use it. Most of the digestion happens in the small intestine. During the process, the presence of glucose increases fructose absorption, leading to increased creation of fat. Thus, eating the two together may be more harmful than eating them individually. It is linked to various health issues such as diabetes and heart disease.
Sugar is certainly not an ideal choice, but that doesn’t mean you cut it out of your diet altogether. You can enjoy your daily cup of tea with a pinch of sugar. Just ensure that you cut down on excessive intake of sugary foods and sweets.
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