We all know that excess sugar is bad for us, but is it really necessary to give up completely and is quitting sugar actually good for us?
The first thing to note is that sugar is a carbohydrate made up of glucose and fructose, the worst part being fructose. Glucose is an important part of our diet however fructose is not and each is metabolised very differently. While every cell in our bodies can use glucose, fructose is not essential for our bodies in any way and our liver will turn it into fat if we consume too much of it.
Products that contain added sugar (and fructose) normally contain very few nutrients and are classed as empty calories. Fizzy drinks, fruit juice, lollies, chocolate bars and pastries all belong in this category and should be avoided.
Contrary to belief, naturally occurring fructose in fruit is not bad for you and in fact fruit provides your body with vital fibre needed to keep your digestive system running smoothly and has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. A couple of servings of fruit each day isn’t going to do you any harm but if you’re particularly worried about fructose in fruit then stick to fruits that contain less of it, such as kiwifruit, berries and grapefruit. Other natural sources of sugar that are ok to eat are honey and sweet root vegetables.
Some of the side effects of consuming too much fructose in the form of added sugar are:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Fatty liver disease
- Type II diabetes
- Heart disease
- Addiction to sugar
So is quitting unnecessary added sugar (and fructose) good for you? Yes, absolutely it is. Fructose has been around in our diets for a long time however it only becomes problematic when it is consumed in excess. As a general rule 50g of fructose per day should be the maximum amount you consume. Don’t be too stressed if you consume more than this from natural sources occasionally but when added sugar becomes a regular in your diet you should take a step back and take a look at some of the side effects listed above.
Image via womenshealthmag.com