There are many forms of sugar and it’s about understanding sugars and how they react in the body. Fructose, glucose (dextrose)…are simple sugars or monosaccharide’s and all contain the same number of calories. But metabolized differently in the body, causing a different effect. Fructose for example, has a very low GI (glycemic index), compared to other simple sugars, therefore, it tends to be found in dietary products or is suitable for diabetics because it does not require insulin uptake. Sources of fructose include fruits, some vegetables, honey, sugar cane and sugar beets. Eating too much fructose can cause problems in the digestive track however, as if you eat more than the small intestine can absorb you will end up with stomach pain and diarrhea. In healthy adults, less than 25-50 grams of fructose can cause symptoms ex. 1 apple = about 10 grams fructose vs a 16-ounce bottle of apple juice => 30 grams of fructose. So, understanding food and all its components can help us eat properly without causing problems.
Here are a few ways:
- Add in another simple sugar as glucose, this will help with absorption of fructose – you will see this in many different products.
- Add a “sugar blocker” like fibre. Examples would be eating a salad before the main course or, an apple with the peel.
- Eat with other macronutrients like fat or protein as this will help stop sugar spikes and stabilize blood sugars.
- Full sugar glucose chains with no natural fructose are detrimental for high sugar spikes – like a peeled potato. This has a higher GI than a tsp of sugar or other high GI products like candy, baked goods, flour or breads. Nothing is equal to the value of whole foods in their natural state.
- Then there are other natural sweeteners that are better for you but still calorie per calorie digest the same in the body and will turn to fat if you do not burn off that energy fast enough. Molasses, honey, agave, 100% maple syrup, molasses are all examples. There is one difference though as the body at least understands the chemical makeup of these natural sugars as they are not stripped of their nutrients like processed sugar.
- Try to keep your sugar or natural sweeteners to the following to avoid blood sugar spikes if in raw form with no fiber.
- Women keep your sugar to no more than 10 grams at a sitting and Men at 15 grams. Meaning; if you want some sweetness in your coffee, tea or oatmeal, go for the natural ones, within the above numbers. 1 tbsp of any of the above is roughly 17 grams of sugar so you are looking at ½ tbsp for you ladies and men just under 1 tbsp.
Hot drinks made cold without the Sugar!
Cold coffee or make it a Frappuccino. For 1 serving use 1 tsp instant regular or decaf coffee, 1 tbsp cocoa, a pinch or more of stevia, 1 cup milk and ice – amount depends on how thick you want it add vanilla or caramel extract if desired – blend in a blender.
Have your tea cold – make tea of choice normally then put in fridge, have plain or add stevia, add fresh mint or lemon /lime.
Smoothies normally contain a high sugar content due to all the fruit. Try this first as your base: 1 cucumber, 1 peeled lemon, herbs (cilantro, parsley…), 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger, then add carrot and or 1 fruit (apple, pear, peach…) You can also make thicker by adding in spinach or kale and ice. Tangy and a metabolism booster!