Candies, cake, cookies, ice-cream I think all these sweet things you imagine when someone says you about sugar. You may have heard the term “sucrose” – but what is that? While it might sound overly technical, sucrose is simply the chemical name for sugar, the simple carbohydrate we know and love that is produced naturally in all plants, including fruits, vegetables, and even nuts.
What is Sucrose?
Of all plant types, sugar beets and sugar sticks have the best amounts of sugar, which is the reason that they are the best choice from which to extract sugar. The sugar that extracted from sugar beet or sugar stick plants is basically the same that you can find biting fruits and vegetables. It is totally pure and contains no additives or added substances of any sort. That means that the sugar people keep in their kitchen, the sugar we add to bread to assist it with rising and the sugar in sweet treats is actually equivalent to sugar that is normally we find in peaches, almonds, chickpeas and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Sucrose = fructose + glucose
In fact, there is a long list of reasons why you should avoid it.
Sucrose interferes with hormones in your body that regulate hunger and satiety. This can lead to increased calorie intake and weight gain
It also harms your metabolism, which can lead to increased insulin and fat storage. In fact, many studies have found a strong link between sucrose and obesity.
Simply put, people who consume the most sucrose are far more likely to become overweight or obese than those who consume the least. High sugar intake is also associated with some of the world’s most deadly diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. What’s more, sucrose is addictive. It causes dopamine to be released in the reward center of the brain, which is the same response activated by addictive drugs. This leads to cravings and can drive overeating
What Are Sugar Substitutes?
There are many myths about sugar. Some people still believe that brown sugar is better than white one, coconut sugar or honey are healthier. I have bad news, guys, it is sugar, it is still sugar. A lot of people, including myself, use some sweeteners or sugar substitutes to make food more attractive, but with 0 calories in it. Are these sweeteners really healthy for us?
Sugar substitutes are sweeteners that you use instead of everyday table sugar (sucrose). Artificial sweeteners are simply one form of sugar replacement. Some manufacturers name their sweeteners “natural ” even though they’re processed. And some artificial sweeteners are derived from naturally occurring substances, for example sucralose comes from sugar.
Natural Sugar Substitutes.
Natural sweeteners are sugar substitutes that people usually promote as healthier options than sugar or other sugar substitutes. But even these “natural sweeteners” often undergo processing and refining.
The most common and safe natural sweeteners include:
- Fruit nectars
- Coconut sugar
- Maple syrup
Natural sweeteners have a variety of uses both at home and in processed foods. They’re sometimes known as “added sugars” because they’re added to foods during processing. There are several natural sweeteners that health-conscious people often use in place of sugar. These include coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup and molasses. While these natural sweeteners may contain a few more nutrients than regular sugar, your body still metabolizes them the same way. These natural sweeteners are slight “less bad” than regular sugar. Nonetheless, they are still forms of sugar. But there are some harmless natural substitutes with 0 calories.
Stevia is a natural sweetener that’s extracted from the leaves of a South American shrub known scientifically as Stevia rebaudiana. It contains zero calories and has no known links to weight gain. Some studies show that stevioside, which is one of the sweet compounds in stevia, can lower high blood pressure by 6–14%. It has also been shown to lower blood sugar and insulin levels, which may help fight diabetes. Knowing all this, if you need to sweeten something, stevia is probably the healthiest choice.
Stevia is 100% natural, contains zero calories and has no known adverse health effects. It has been shown to lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
Xylitol And Erythritol
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol with a sweetness much like sugar. It’s extracted from corn or birch wood and found in many fruits and vegetables. It contains 2.4 calories per gram, which is 40% less calories than sugar. Also, it does not boost blood sugar or insulin levels. Most of the harmful effects of sugar consumption are because of its excessive fructose content. However, xylitol consists of zero fructose and accordingly has none of the damaging results that can be caused by sugar. Xylitol is generally well-tolerated, but eating too much of it can cause digestive side effects like gas, bloating and diarrhea.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that contains 40% fewer calories than sugar. Eating it may offer dental benefits and protect against osteoporosis
Like xylitol, erythritol is a sugar alcohol, but it contains even fewer calories. At only 0.24 calories per gram, erythritol contains 6% of the calories of regular sugar. It also tastes almost exactly like sugar, making it an easy switch.
Your body does not have the enzymes to breakdown erythritol, so most of it is absorbed immediately into your bloodstream and excreted in your urine unchanged. Therefore, it does not seem to have the damaging consequences that regular sugar does. Moreover, erythritol does not raise blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
Coconut sugar is extracted from the sap of the coconut palm. It contains a few nutrients, including iron, zinc, calcium and potassium, as well as antioxidants. It also has a lower glycemic index than sugar, which may be partly due to its inulin content. Nevertheless, coconut sugar is still very high in calories, containing the same number of calories per serving as regular sugar.
Coconut sugar, it’s still high in fructose and should be consumed in moderation.
Honey is a thick, golden liquid produced by honey bees. It contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, as well as an abundance of beneficial antioxidants. Eating honey may help raise the levels of antioxidants in your blood. High levels of antioxidants in the blood are linked to a lower risk of disease. But despite the fact that studies have shown honey to have some promising health benefits, it still contains fructose, which can contribute to a slew of health problems.
Honey contains antioxidants and small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
In short, honey is also still sugar and not completely harmless.
Maple syrup is a thick, sugary liquid that’s made by cooking down the sap of maple trees. It contains a good amount of minerals, including calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and manganese. It also contains at least 24 different types of antioxidants. While maple syrup contains some beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, it’s very high in sugar. It has a slightly lower glycemic index than regular sugar, so it may not raise blood sugar levels as quickly, but it will still raise them. Much like coconut sugar and honey, maple syrup is a slightly better option than regular sugar, but it should still be consumed in moderation
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes. But they may be prepared from naturally occurring substances, such as herbs or sugar itself. Artificial sweeteners are also intense sweeteners because they are many times sweeter than sugar. Artificial sweeteners can be attractive alternatives to sugar because they add virtually no calories to your diet. Some studies say that this kind of adjustment can help obesity, diabetes, and similar problems.
Some people believe that artificial sweeteners might increase appetite and promote weight gain. The idea is that artificial sweeteners may be unable to activate the food reward pathway needed to make you feel satisfied after you eat
Don´t mess with sucrose. Although sucralose is prepared from sugar, the human body doesn’t recognize it as sugar, so body can´t metabolize it – which means it provides no calories. Most of the sucralose we consume is excreted as waste. Another 11% to 27% of its body absorbs into the bloodstream through the gastrointestinal tract, removed from the blood by the kidneys and eliminated through our urine.
The human body doesn’t metabolize Ace-k at all, so it provides no calories – but it’s 200 times sweeter than table sugar. One breakdown product of ace-k is a chemical acetoacetamide, which is toxic if you consume it in very large doses – but the amounts of acetoacetamide found in spoonfuls of Ace-k are far below dangerous levels. Still, although plenty of research has found that Ace-k is safe for animals, human studies are still rare.
Avoid Substituting Sugar With These Sweeteners
Some alternative sweeteners may actually cause more harm than good. Some may even be more dangerous than sugar. Below are sugar substitutes you should try to avoid.
Agave nectar is produced by the agave plant. Many still believe that it is a healthy alternative to sugar, but it’s probably one of the unhealthiest sweeteners on the market. It consists of 85% fructose, which is much higher than regular sugar.
Despite being marketed as a healthy alternative to sugar, agave nectar contains even more fructose than sugar and should be avoided.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a corn syrup sweetener. Manufacturers usually use it to sweeten processed foods and soft drinks. As its name says, it’s very high in fructose. It can increase your risk of weight gain, obesity, diabetes and other serious diseases like cancer. If you don´t use HFCS as an individual ingredient in your recipes at home, it’s commonly found in sauces, salad dressings and other condiments that you may be cooking with.
Eating too much sugar can cause several deadly diseases, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The sweeteners I mentioned in this article are good alternatives Stevia, xylitol and erythritol are probably the healthiest options
“Less bad” sugars like maple syrup, molasses and honey are slightly better than regular sugar, but you should use them less, as they still consist of sugar. Try to avoid artificial sweeteners as we still don´t know much about them and their influence on our bodies.
Food marketed as sugar-free isn’t calorie-free, so it can still cause weight gain. Keep in mind that processed foods, which often contain sugar substitutes, generally don’t offer the same health benefits as whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. As with most things in nutrition, moderation is key.