Your mother always told you that your apple had better sugar than your cookies at snack time… But was she right? There are so many types of sugar: white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, coconut sugar, organic sugar, sucrose, Splenda™… It’s easy to get confused with all the choices! But what’s the difference between all these types of sugars? Are there better sugars for your health? Find out here.
What are the different sugars and where do you find them?
Good news and bad news: sugars are found EVERYWHERE. From fruits, vegetables and breads to chocolate, ketchup and soft drinks… There’s something for everyone!
If you talk to a nutritionist, they will tell you that on nutrition labels, sugars = carbohydrates. Carbohydrates include all types of sugars: simple sugars and complex sugars. There are those that are naturally present in plants: vegetables, fruits, wheat… And those that are manufactured in industries: granulated sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup… Industries use a lot of refined sugars in processed products, since these sugars are not expensive to produce.
Digestion of sugars
Well, it’s time to make something clear. Your body, when you ingest food, must digest it in order to absorb nutrients. To do this, it doesn’t take into consideration the taste and the source of the nutrients. When you eat, what your body sees is carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals… Or how to get to the point where it can absorb it all.
Did you know that...
your body doesn’t really know the difference between your apple sugar and your chocolate sugar? What it sees is sugar!
In addition, your body (especially your cells) needs carbohydrates to function. It is its best fuel!
Are there any good sugars?
All sugars are good for us! Sugar is energy. In fact, as mentioned, your body needs carbohydrates (in the form of glucose) to function.
What are the best sugars for your health?
Since sugar is found in so many types of foods, how do you know which one is best?
After thinking about it, the question would be: which food gives me the most benefit when I eat it? Indeed, since your body does not make a difference when digesting different sugars… What would be best for it?
A varied and balanced diet!
In fact, the best thing we can give our body is a varied and balanced diet. To have as many nutrients as possible. So the best sugars are the foods that give us the most nutrients, as a whole.
After thinking about it, the question would be what food gives you the most benefit when you eat it!
For example, a mango contains as much sugar as a cup of chocolate ice cream. On the other hand, your mango is full of vitamins and minerals… while the ice cream contains a lot of fat.
“Fake sugars”: good for you?
“Fake sugars” are used here, but they are actually called artificial sugars (artificial sweeteners). They are often used in cooking to reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe. Artificial sweeteners are made in a factory. There are several varieties, with different degrees of sweetness (the feeling of sweetness when you eat it).
Here is a small, but not exhaustive list of the most popular types:
- Aspartame (Equal, Sugar Twin);
- Acesulfame of potassium (Sweet One);
- Saccharin (Sweet Twin, Sweet’N Low);
- Sucralose (Splenda).
Studies are quite contradictory as to the potential benefits or drawbacks of such sugars. For some people, these sugars can be a good alternative to improve their physical condition.
Consult a health care professional!
In any case, if you have a specific disorder, consult a health care professional for individualized advice.
Sugar is still sugar! Unfortunately, your body is not able to distinguish between the different types of sugar. However, it is the other nutrients contained in foods that vary depending on the source. Unprocessed, more natural foods contain many more benefits than processed foods. As always, we recommend that you cook to really know what is on your plate as much as possible! Make informed choices, but also remember that a chocolate bar never killed anyone.