Natural Sugars: What's your Best Option?
Natural sugars could be the answer to healthier carbs in your diet. Because they occur naturally, you can use them to sweeten your dishes without health risks. Or is that so? In today’s article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about them!
Recently, researchers found that eating a lot of processed sugar can have health risks. In fact, high consumption of sugar increases the risk of diseases such as diabetes or some types of cancer. Thus, sugar intake goes hand in hand with obesity and cardiovascular problems in the medium or long term.
Adding sugar to food usually encourages appetite and the feeling of eating uncontrollably, which significantly increases the daily caloric intake. Because of this, those who want to stay healthy are trying to reduce their sugar intake. Of course, because sweet things taste nice, there’s also the option of replacing them with healthier alternatives. Hence, natural sugars!
Natural sugars in fruits
The natural sugars found in fruits are the best option to get that beloved sweet taste without risking your health. Fruits contain a significant amount of sugars, although they have more water than fructose in them. Because of this, fruits can help you sweeten other dishes without overdoing your sugar intake.
In addition, fruits are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. This makes them a great ally in your fight against free radicals as well as allowing you to maximize the efficiency of your body’s metabolism.
Despite this, each type of fruit has a different amount of sugar. Dates, for example, are particularly sweet. On the other hand, apples are practically just water and fiber. Depending on the sweetness we intend to achieve, we can use one variety or another.
Currently, many commercial brands and restaurants offer sweet options using natural sugars. They usually make use of bananas, dates or squash in their composition to provide this taste property without risking your health.
However, this trend hasn’t reached homes yet. In most households, table sugar is still the main option to sweeten preparations and meals.
Honey, maple syrup and other sugars
There’s a certain tendency to substitute table sugar for honey or another similar sweetening substance. These types of products contain a high amount of sugar in their composition.
The industry aims to convince us that these products also provide other substances such as antioxidants. However, in order to benefit from its consumption, we would have to have a huge intake of these products.
Therefore, these kinds of sweeteners are impractical. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use them, but it’s important to think of them as regular sugar. You should use them in moderate amounts!
Reducing sugar consumption isn’t an easy task
Sugar has a rush effect on our systems. In fact, many experts compare the so-called “sugar rush” to the feeling your body gets from consuming actual drugs! Because of it, suspending your intake suddenly could be unsustainable and lead to emotional and energy changes.
One of the best options to start reducing consumption is to replace processed products with natural foods. The industry has a habit of using sugar too frequently in its products, and in very high quantities.
Therefore, eliminating these products from the diet will significantly reduce the intake of this compound.
Another good option is to sweeten foods with natural sugars such as those in fruit. Also, you can use artificial options such as saccharin or stevia. In spite of everything, you need to still be careful with artificial sweeteners. This is because we don’t really understand what consequences long-term use can have on the human body.
Natural sugars: closing thoughts
Reducing table sugar intake is crucial to improve your health. The best option is to introduce fruit in preparations as a sweetener. Sometimes, you can use a product such as honey, but this isn’t recommended for every meal.
Beyond this, it’s good to gradually reduce sugar consumption and your dependence on this substance. To do this, we must replace the consumption of processed and industrial foods with fresh products.
In turn, this will improve your health and minimize the incidence of many complex diseases in the medium and long term. Are you ready to give up sugar?
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- DiNicolantonio JJ., O’Keefe JH., Wilson WL., Sugar addiction: is it real? A narrative review. Br J Sports Med, 2018. 52 (14): 910-913.
- Freeman CR., Zehra A., Ramírez V., Wiers CE., Volkow ND., Wang GJ., Impact of sugar on the body, brain, and behavior. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed), 2018. 23: 2255-2266.