If you’ve not seen the latest headlines and articles around sugar and it’s effects whizzing around the news, we reckon you’ve been in hiding! Everyone’s talking about it but do we really understand why sugar may not be quite the low-calorie friend we once thought it was? We want to dispel some of the confusion, so here’s a few pointers to get you started.
TAKE HOME: It’s really less about the sugar and more about the lack of other nutrients those high sugar items contain 😉
When carbohydrates or sugars enter the body they get broken into smaller pieces. Sucrose or what we’d think of as regular table sugar is broken down into GLUCOSE and FRUCTOSE in the body:
- Glucose is the preferred and fastest energy source for our bodies and can be used for energy by every cell. Glucose circulates in the blood and extra is stored in the liver as glycogen for when we need it. Too much extra is stored as fat.
- Fructose is not the preferred energy source for the body so we don’t need as much of it and it gets processed in the liver.
Note: Glucose and fructose are found in plenty of amazing fruits, veggies and starches (like white potato, rice, bananas, sweet potato and parsnips). Latest reports are encouraging us to stick to 6-9 teaspoons of sugar a day, which can be simple when lots of our food comes from those single ingredient foods. It gets trickier the more of the highly processed foods we eat and current stats are showing we’re eating 2 or 3 times the recommended daily amount…not a reason to panic but something to reflect on.
So what do we eat?
VARIETY! We get loads of our nutrition through fruits, veggies, protein sources, a wide variety of different carbohydrates and fats…and then we enjoy cake, biscuits, sweets…enter food of choice…here and there. We don’t rely on those foods for our nutritional needs because that isn’t the role they play, but we do rely on them for enjoyment and mental well-being and FUN! Taking those things out altogether often leads to an unhealthy relationship with those foods and sometimes even binge type behaviours.
Relying on high sugar content foods (so more highly processed) for energy has been shown to cause metabolic damage and blood sugar dysregulation, so if you’re finding yourself feeling ‘hangry’ and up and down energy wise it might be worth checking if you’re fuelling yourself this way. We’re not saying a chocolate or biscuit doesn’t pass our lips, we just don’t fuel our bodies largely with this stuff…remember it’s what we do MOST of the time that makes the difference.
Keep your eyes peeled for ‘What’s the deal with sugar anyway? Part 2’ to find out what we think about fruit (yes we do eat plenty of it), checking food labels for sugar content and where those extra hidden sugars can be found.
Got a question? Get in touch or comment below (friendly please!).