All about sugar

What is Sugar?

Sugar is any sweet substance used in foods that is simple, soluble and a quick source of energy. Sugars don’t necessarily have to be the store bought white cubes or granules.


Sugar is also one of the most controversial constituents of modern diet and known to be associated with many diseases including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.





Understanding Sugars


Natural sugars are found in whole and unprocessed foods like fruits in the form of fructose and in dairy products in the form of lactose. Foods with natural sugars are lower in calories and make you feel full faster.


Refined sugars on the other hand are extracted from sugar cane or sugar beets and processed to make sugar. Human body breaks down refined sugar rapidly and even causes insulin and blood sugar levels in the body to spike. As it is digested quickly, you don't feel satiated until you are done eating all of it no matter how many calories you have consumed.


Although Sugars have been claimed to be on the wrong side for various reasons but not all sugars are unhealthy. Natural sugars are important and should be included in your diet.


Some of the healthy and natural sugar alternatives are:

RAW HONEY

Raw honey is one of the most preferred natural sweeteners. It is healthy and full of vitamin B6, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin and zinc. Unprocessed honey has many health benefits as it helps strengthen our gastrointestinal tract.


It also has an abundance of antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, inflammation, etc.


COCONUT SUGAR


Coconut sugar is extracted from the sap of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar is full of iron, potassium, antioxidants, zinc, polyphenols, calcium, iron, zinc.

It is also known to have a glycemic index lower than that of sugar which is due to the presence of inulin in it.


MOLASSES


Molasses is a thick brown liquid which is sweet. It is obtained from boiling down sugar cane. It has a handful of vitamins and minerals, as well as several antioxidants. It is on high iron, potassium and calcium contents may benefit bone and heart health.


MAPLE SYRUP


Maple syrup is extracted from the sap of the maple trees. It contains a small amount of minerals, including calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and manganese.


Maple syrup is known to be high in antioxidants as compared to honey.


DATES


Dates are small fruits which are full of magnesium, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, manganese, and iron. Dates can be easily substituted in desserts and give an added flavor to it. Dates are easy to digest and they even support absorption of carbohydrates and fats.


JAGGERY


This is a traditional Indian sweetener that has been in use for ages. It is prepared from sugarcane. It has vital nutrients such as minerals and vitamins. It has enough of iron, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium.


Jaggery is good for digestion, cough and cold. It is known to relieve headache and relaxes nerves, muscles and blood vessels. It also has anti-allergic properties and improves immune system.

MONK FRUIT


It is extracted from a small green fruit native to Southeast Asia. It can be easily substituted in foods, beverages. Monk fruit sweetener has zero calories and a lower glycemic index which is why it is safe to use by diabetic people. It is also said to help in weight loss.



All these sugars are healthier substitutes to your regular refined table sugar. But they are Sugar and should be taken in moderation.