It is easy to fall in love with sugar, thanks to its sweet taste. We all consume it in some or the other form on daily basis, whether in the tea, cookies, chocolates, puddings or even in our drinks. Even in several eatables, sugar exists naturally in some or the other form. However, just because this sweet crystalline substance overdrives our salivary glands and finds a religious use in our daily diet, is this enough the reason to embrace it? The answer is a bit intimidating! David Gillespie, the author of popular book ‘sweet poison’, holds sugar responsible for a majority of obesity problems in Australia.
The American Heart Association (AHA) echoes similar thoughts, as it believes that added sugars increase calories and the content of zero nutrients to food, which is bad for our health. All these facts give weight to the fact that ‘Sugar is a sweet poison’ and hence is better to avoid in excess. Here is everything you would like to know about sugar, its harmful effects, and its sweet alternatives.
Some facts about Sugar
Sucrose, commonly termed as ‘sugar’ comprises both the fructose and glucose in equal amount. Foods that get their sweetness through sucrose or sugar are termed as ‘added sugars’. This is because these sugars are an addition to the foods, instead of being an integral part of the latter. Naturally contained sugars, for example, those contained in fruits/vegetables, find perfect balance in vitamins, fibers, enzymes and several other properties of these eatables. However, you cannot say the same for the varieties of processed sugar.
Harmful effects of sugar
You may well term sugar as a sweet position since it hardly provides any benefit to your health. To the contrary, it causes the body to face several harmful effects:
- Liver stress
- Enhanced level of Triglycerides & Bad Cholesterol
- Contribute to weight gain, appetite, cravings, sleep disorders, all collectively termed as Leptin Resistance
- Bad for teeth as it feeds harmful bacteria in the mouth
- Can cause insulin resistance, leading to Diabetes or even Type II Diabetes
- Can cause cancer
- Leads to excess fat thereby causing obesity in children and adults
- Can be highly addictive for many
Sweet alternatives to sucrose
Considering the importance of sugar in enhancing the taste, texture and flavor of food, it is literary hard replicate it. However, at the same time, there is no denial to the fact that it is a zero nutritional, which could be the reason behind heart diseases, liver damage, and several other severe health conditions. Amid such fact, the companies are trying their best to come up with naturally sweetened low-calorie formulations that could pose as suitable alternatives to sucrose. Here are few of the most sought after ones:
- Stevia – A South American herb
- Date Sugar – Manufactured from dried dates
- Honey – Locally produced to rear benefits
- Xylitol – A five-carbon sugar
- Coconut Sugar –Extracted from coconut palm
- Maple Syrup – A common bottle in the cupboards
- Brown Rice Syrup – Gluten and wheat free syrup, made from boiling brown rice
- Fruit Juice – An effective source of natural sugar
- Molasses – By-products of process used for sugar production
- Barley Malt Syrup – similar to molasses with a malty taste
Depending on your suitability and health condition, you may try one or more of these alternatives to replace the sugar content in your body. However, all these sweeteners have their own merits and demerits as well. Hence, it is advisable to know about their pros and cons thoroughly before deciding to include in your daily diet.
Perhaps, consultation with your family physician or dietician would be a smart move. While you adopt these products, chances are brighter that you break free from the added sugar that many terms as poison. Instead, you will be sugar free for the rest of your life!