How many times do you drink a 100% fruit juice smoothie thinking that the “natural” sugars are good for you? In reality, that natural sugar is misconstrued for healthy, and is worded that way to trick consumers. The “regular” sugars added to the junk food you love: cakes, soda, and sweets, is called cane sugar, and it has a bad reputation, especially standing next to “natural” sugars. But your body processes both sugars the exact same way, which means yes, those juices FULL of “natural” sugars aren’t much better for you than a soda.
Don’t Panic: Fruit is Still Healthy
Before you swear off fruit and start vegetable loading, fruits are still good for you. Just in moderation of course, like everything else. The sugar in fruits is not that healthy, the healthy part is the fiber and antioxidants the fruit obtains. The fruit juice craze that’s stolen the world, is stripped of the fiber found in the fruit before it’s blended. The juice is not a problem, and can still be a regular in your diet. However, the problem comes with the ease of drinking it leading to over-consumption.
Here’s the facts: 12 ounces of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar. But the same amount of fruit juice, just 12 ounces, has 53 grams of sugar. As facts have it, grape juice has more sugar than soda, and your body treats that sugar the same way, but soda has a much worse reputation than grape juice.
But Why Does This Matter?
So now that you know the sugars that are going into your body, you should also know how it’s affecting it. It starts with carbohydrates, like sugar. These carbs are broken down in the body, and the sugar ends up in your blood. Your body releases a hormone called insulin to take that sugar out of your blood and into your cells, resulting in energy for your body. When you consume a lot of carbohydrates, your body has to release a lot of insulin. The excess insulin is then stored in the body as fat. This can then cause weight gain, which no one wants, and leads to many other health problems.
The second problem is that excess sugar causes excess insulin in the bloodstream. This can also affect your arteries, stressing the heart and causing damage over time, which sounds just as bad as it is. But that excess sugar and excess insulin can cause a resistance to insulin, also known as Type 2 diabetes. The excess sugar intake is also believed to be linked to a greater risk of depression.
This is Not The End…For Sugar
The problems associated with too much sugar are almost endless. While I am not an advocate to cut sugar out completely, I am an advocate to eat it in moderation, just like everything else. Dietitian’s can work with you to create a healthier lifestyle that includes your favorite foods and beverages while learning how to moderate them. Sugar isn’t bad…but too much sugar is.
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