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The sugar in the fruit is not the same as in the soft drinks

Sugar is the major ally of the food industry today and is widely spread in variety of foods. Organized a campaign in which graphically shows the sugar present in food. However, you can not always distinguish between added sugars and natural sugars because the law does not require it and therefore, the campaign has been carried out with the information that we have available today as consumers.

Added sugars vs. natural sugars

Many foods that naturally have sugar in their composition or are a source of nutrients that eventually become sugars in our body.

There are also many industrial foods or products to which sugar is added during processing to accentuate the taste, increase the energy supply or achieve other properties in the final result.

Thus, fruits are a source of fructose , milk and derivatives are sources of lactose, vegetables can have fructose in varying amounts and also complex hydrates that after digestion are converted into glucose to be used by our body.

With this concept, we must know that the vast majority of foods except for meats, for example, have natural sugars in their composition, while others are also added sugar. For example: yogurts naturally have lactose, but in addition, they are usually added sugar industrially to flavor as shown in the cover image.

Cookies, some snacks, goodies or others, have industrially added sugars, because in themselves, they are not processed natural foods. They are products resulting from an industrial process and therefore, their sugars are not natural.

How to distinguish natural sugars from added sugars

It is clear that an apple or a banana have natural sugars and that a soft drink has added sugars, but if as consumers we want to know how much of a yogurt’s total sugar is natural and how much added, the process is much more complex.

In the United States soon will be declared in the labeling the amount of added sugars of a food, but in Spain this is not obligation of the industry, reason why, it is very frequent to find in the labeling of a food the total amount of sugar that does not it distinguishes natural from added.

However, in some foods we can see how much sugar is added in your list of ingredients, these would be the added sugars of the product. If this percentage does not coincide with that of total sugar, the rest are natural sugars.

As we have said, not in all foods will we find this distinction and therefore, not always in the labeled we can differentiate natural sugars from additives. The key then is to remember that all foods processed to a greater or lesser extent have added sugars and that these are the ones WHO recommends to limit to no more than 10% of the daily calories and not sugars naturally present in foods.

What is its effect on the organism?

When we talk about simple sugars such as glucose, fructose, or the like, we must consider that in isolation they have the same effect on the body, since they are the energy substrate par excellence for the body. But sugars as such are not presented in isolation but come in conjunction with other nutrients as part of a food.

Then, the main difference is the process that gives rise to glucose in the body depends largely on other components of food or product.

Thus a soda has no fiber, vitamins or minerals of importance to the body and because it is liquid, it is easily digested so that its sugar easily reaches the blood. A vegetable instead will offer healthy micronutrients, fiber and a percentage of complex hydrates that take longer to digest to become glucose, therefore, this natural food that also has sugars satiate more, is more nutritious and does not have a high glycemic index.

Foods with added sugars are processed or ultraprocessed and have a higher glycemic response, satiate less and have a poorer nutritional profile than foods with natural sugars

Foods that carry added sugars are processed or ultraprocessed foods and have a poorer nutritional profile than natural foods. In addition, they have a greater glycemic response, characteristic of foods whose consumption on a repeated and prolonged basis can cause metabolic alterations such as obesity, diabetes or insulin resistance, among others.

On the other hand, if a food with sugar does not quench as if it does a fresh fruit with skin, it encourages us to eat more and more, since the sugar triggers after its intake a pleasant response in the body that is responsible for the addictive power of many foods like cookies, sweets or industrial pastries.

For this same reason, sugar derived from complex hydrates is not the same as refined sugar, since they have a different effect on the organism and therefore, it is always essential to establish distinctions.

What sugars do we need at the time of training?

If we speak of effect in the organism, this must be taken into account when trying to increase the energy sources when training or performing to the maximum. It is very different a food with natural sugars that also has protein and / or fiber and therefore is digested slower, than a food with added sugar that is metabolized at high speed.

A low glycemic index food will be useful for long-term sports, as energy will gradually be released or whatever, glucose will gradually flow into the bloodstream. Conversely, an easily digestible food with sugar will produce a rapid rise in blood glucose and this at a sporting level can be risky during the effort and will only be useful to recover the training completed, but of course, will not contribute more than sugar and calories, while a banana can also contribute minerals lost with sweat.

So when training is also important to consider the effect of the different types of sugar in our body: we must distinguish whether it is refined sugars or derived from complex hydrates, always being more beneficial the intake of energy or sugar derived from natural foods.

How much sugar is in natural foods?

So that we have an idea of ​​the proportion of sugar that we can find in natural foods, we leave some examples:

  • Apple : 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
  • Drizzle : 59 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
  • Orange juice : 8 grams per 100 ml.
  • Skimmed Greek type yogurt : 3.5 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
  • Orange : 9 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
  • Beet : 7 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
  • Milk : 5 grams of sugar per 100 ml.
  • Lemon : 2.5 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
  • Potato : 0.8 grams of sugar per 100 grams.

All these natural foods have sugar in their composition, and if we analyze the sugar content of orange and orange juice we might think that the latter is more suitable, however, it happens the opposite because fresh orange satiates more, has more fiber and lower glycemic index than juice.

Even within foods with natural sugars we can find better options than others, but always added sugars that we must limit if we want to take care of health.


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