Research continues to show the negative impacts on human health of excessive intake of different sugars. The bottom line is, all added sugar that is not naturally contained in whole foods; hence, it is unnecessary and ultimately not good for us. However, we consume it in abundance when we choose to eat processed foods because the many processed foods contain it.
This raises questions about whether it occurs naturally in foods such as fruit different from the table or other refined ones. The answer is that all of them are not the same as regards human health. It is becoming increasingly evident that we need to be aware of the kind of sugar we are consuming. We need to recognize how our body reacts to it once eaten.
Effects of Sugar from Fruits
Fruits provide plenty of benefits because they are rich in minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Fructose and glucose are the two different sugars that are part of any fruit. The ratios of fructose, glucose, and all the nutrient and fiber fractions vary among fruit types.
It is the fiber content of fruit that greatly determines what will happen to sugar once ingested. It is also the fiber that determines how quickly it breaks down in the gastrointestinal tract. Just because most fruits taste sweet does not automatically mean that they all have the capacity to raise blood sugar levels quickly. Some fruits have a high fiber and low sugar content, which means that they will have less impact on blood glucose. Consequently, the sugar contained in fruits is assimilated more slowly because fiber slows down the body’s glucose digestion. Therefore, your body prevents insulin spikes which lead to subsequent energy crashes. Besides, the fruit’s fiber content can help expand the gut, which gives an individual the feeling of fullness.
Fruit Sugar and the Glycemic Index
Fruits can be classified based on their glycemic index. The American Diabetes Association says that fruits that are heavy in fiber have a low glycemic index. Examples of fruits with a low glycemic index include apples, peaches, berries and oranges, and other citrus fruits. Some fruits have a higher glycemic index, such as watermelon, grapes, raisins, and ripe bananas. Hence, you should consume these are the kind of fruits in controlled portion sizes. This way, they will not cause sugar spikes, especially to people diagnosed with diabetes.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to avoid or reduce your consumption of fresh fruits totally to keep your blood sugar levels at a normal level. Nevertheless, be mindful of their glycemic index. Watch out for dried fruits as their sugar levels are more concentrated due to their reduced volume.
Effects of Refined Sugar
We need to recognize that our bodies break down all types of sugar. This is necessary for use in several metabolic processes. However, the differences between types become evident when monitoring and measuring their effects on your body following ingestion. Refined sugar very quickly metabolizes into fructose and glucose, causing a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and insulin release. Refined sugar products will not prevent you from experiencing that feeling of fullness. On the contrary, because they also affect hormones, you will feel even more hungry. Therefore, you will find yourself craving more calorie-rich soda and cake even after you have already had enough.