Marketing, old wives tales, and misinformation spread by wellness culture has led to many misconceptions about the foods we eat. A part of our foods that has garnered a lot of fear over the years are sugars in their various forms. What exactly are sugars? Are all sugars bad? Do they play any role in how well our bodies perform? Let’s look at some facts about sugar.
Basically, sugar is a type of carbohydrate. And just like how fats and proteins are essential to a healthy diet, so are carbohydrates. When we consume carbohydrates, our bodies break them down into usable energy in the form of glucose. Glucose is the preferred energy source of our brains, red blood cells, and nervous systems. Needless to say, our bodies absolutely need some sugar to operate.
Sugars can be found naturally in whole foods, or they can be added into foods. When looking at food labels, they will not generally read simply as sugar. Instead, you will see dextrose, fructose, galactose, mannose, sucrose, lactose, maltose, and trehalose.
Sugars can be found naturally, or they can be produced. Examples of naturally occurring sugars can be found in fruits, vegetables, milk, honey, molasses and mushrooms. Ingredients that can be made into sugars include sugar cane, sugar beets, corn starch, and agave.
Sugar is added to foods for several reasons, and many of them are to the benefit of the food. Obviously, sugar imparts flavor, it can balance out bitterness and acidity, it can add volume or texture to a food, and it can be used in preservation of foods and fermentation applications.
Sugar is essential for our bodies to perform and function as they are intended to. It is possible, however, to have too much of a good thing. There is evidence that shows a link between a low intake of added sugars and a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. It is recommended, therefore, that in order to maintain a healthy diet, consumers should limit their daily intake of added sugars to 10% of their total caloric intake.
It is important to remember that all sugar has the same amount of calories per gram whether naturally occurring or produced. Our bodies metabolize all sugars the same way in order to convert them into usable energy sources. While a piece of candy may have less nutritional value than a piece of fruit, both foods will provide your body with energy. There’s no need to demonize certain categories of foods. All foods can be enjoyed in moderation!
At Junkyard Training, we utilize technology to help you understand how your body works in order to help you reach your athletic goals. Stop by our facility to get a tour of the tools and equipment we have to help you do just that.