Refined sugar vs natural sugar in fruits
by Jes @SnackFirst on Jun 07, 2022
What's the difference?
If you have noticed your nutritional label, you would see a new ruling from US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulating on the added refined or processed sugar now.
Are all sugars the same and do our body absorb them similarly?
Of course not.
How the natural sugars are digested
Sugar from fruits are fructose and glucose and they are naturally occurring. This makes our body digest slower, preventing a spike in our blood sugar or insulin. As our digestive tract absorb them fully, our bloodstream is able to regulate this additional sugar content.
Source: Castle personal training
Difference to refined sugar
As compared to white sugar, which are called processed or refined, these sugar are monosaccharides (fructose, glucose, and galactose) and disaccharides (two monosaccharides) or even oligosaccharides (three or more monosaccharides).
These are added not just in the form of sugar or glucose, but also other non-obvious forms such as brown rice, maple syrup, or corn syrup, coconut sugar, date sugar, organic cane juice, and agave nectar . They definitely add on to our carbohydrates content daily.
How about fruit juice?
Not just that, for fruit juices, smoothies and yoghurt, they usually contain a high amount of refined sugar, which is why drinking a sweet beverage like bubble tea is bound to make you fat easily. Drinking fruit juice does not have the good fibre and will pass through our system faster, causing the spike in insulin.
Sugar is not harmful, they can be broken down and used as energy. If the energy is not burnt or used, these will be converted into the dreadful and hated fats. Even natural occurring sugars such as fructose and glucose will be stored as fats when consumed in huge amounts. Thus, small healthy amounts are acceptable but not when you consume too much a day.
How much to consume without gaining weight is very much dependent on your output. In general, it is recommended to take just 24 grams or 6 teaspoon of sugar (100% sugar bubble tea has 8 teaspoon of sugar!) a day. For fruits, just 2 to 5 servings are acceptable for the daily limit.
Source: The Straits Times
Eating whole or dried fruits means you are taking the additional dietary fiber content. Fiber controls our bowel movement, and does not require insulin to digest them. Thus, they do not count towards the carbohydrates content and which is why some diabetics are still eating certain fruits like berries. Some ketogenic methods also minus off half the dietary fiber content from the total carbohydrate count. It is like a form of carbohydrates neutralizer and should be consumed daily.
Not just dietary fiber, protein is one good way to slow digestion. Eat meals high in proteins like meat and healthy snacks like nuts while cutting down on carbohydrates like rice and potato will make a significant change to your waist line!
Do read our Healthy Snacking, Smart Snacking for more tips!