I'm sure you've heard by now that most American's need to cut back on their sugar intakes. Sugar consumption is a big culprit for the obesity epidemic in America
. Our bodies can process sugars, yes, but they don't need the amount or the types of sugar found in the typical American diet.
If we want a healthy, balanced diet filled with clean foods then most of us need to change how we're eating sugar. And to make an informed decision on that we need to answer some important questions about different types of sugar, which types of sugar are better, and how much sugar we can eat.
What Are The Different Types of Sugar?
There are several different kinds of sugar and your body processes them differently. Glucose, fructose, and sucrose all occur naturally in certain plants. Lactose is found in dairy. Highly processed versions of them, such as high fructose corn syrup or refined white sugar, form the main sugary ingredients in American foods.
In general, the less refined a sugar you eat the better. Refined sugars are nothing but sugar, while sugars that are still in their natural form may contain other nutrients. For example, eating grapes means you're getting fiber, antioxidants, and several vitamins in addition to fructose.
How About Artificial Sweeteners?
The diet food industry tries to convince us that artificial sweeteners are a good alternative to sugars. They say you can cut out the bad things about sugar while keeping the sweetness. But it's not true.
According to a study cited in Medical News Today
, artificial sweeteners interfere with your gut bacteria. What's more, this study found links “between long-term consumption of artificial sweeteners and increased weight, increased waist-to-hip ratio..., higher fasting blood glucose levels and increased glycosylated hemoglobin levels.” Artificial sweeteners are another problem, not the solution.
Should I Cut Out All Sugar?
Cutting all sugar out of our diets really isn't possible. Sugars naturally occur in too many healthy foods to make a step like that good for us. But it is definitely a good idea to cut back
on the amount of sugar you eat, especially refined sugar.
Saying no to sweeteners like corn syrup and processed white sugar is a big step towards a healthier diet. You'll also want to reduce your refined carbohydrates intake since the body converts those to sugar very quickly. It's much better to get your sugars from fresh fruits and vegetables and your carbs from whole grain foods.
Are There Safe Sweets To Eat?
A small amount of sugar can make up part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. The World Health Organization recommends
that sugar should make up less than 10% of your total energy intake per day. Less than 5% is even better, which is about 25 grams or 6 teaspoons for an average adult. That number refers to added sugars, not the ones naturally found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy.
When you're looking to reduce your sugar intake but still keep foods tasty
, try adding spices and fruits to your recipes instead. If you do want to use a sweetener, substitute raw honey or natural maple syrup for refined sugars. You can also add Blue Butterfly Flower
to your diet, which suppresses the absorption of sugar into the intestinal tract and helps balance out your blood sugar levels.
So to answer the question in this article's title, you can eat sugar. Just not too much. Remember to save sweet, sugary foods as a treat and not make them a staple of your diet.