Sugars are simple carbohydrates that the body breaks down to release energy. When digested it is known as glucose which travels to the bloodstream and is taken up by the cells.
Sugar comes in a natural form found in fruit, honey coconut syrup and dates whereas artificial sugar is found in sugary drinks, sweets and cakes.
Here we will uncover the truth behind what happens when you consume natural sugar vs artificial sugar.
Consuming sugar alters the body’s glycaemic index. This represents the rise in blood sugar caused by food consumption. A food with a high glycaemic index means it reaches the bloodstream quicker causing a fast spike in blood sugar. This alters hunger levels by producing a ‘sugar rush’, not fulfilling hunger leaving you lacking energy and looking for something to eat shortly after.
A low glycaemic index describes food that keep you full and stabilise blood sugar levels. This is useful for weight management and weight loss because it stabilises insulin levels helping reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
In general, natural sugars have a lower glycaemic index compared to artificial sugars. This is best shown by a pack of jelly sweets and a banana. Jelly sweets are artificial sugars so raise blood sugars levels rapidly causing that sudden burst of energy we desire. However, a banana has a lower GI causing slow release of energy. They also contain fibre which promotes a healthy digestive system.
Although it appears that artificial sugars have no place, they are useful in some situations such as after finishing a long run or when your blood sugar levels are extremely low. They provide an quick rise in blood sugar, preventing events such as fainting from occurring.
Although there is a place for artificial sugars, they should not be consumed on a regular basis but instead you should opt to find natural alternatives.
So, you’ve decided that consuming artificial sugar isn’t beneficial to your daily life and want to make a change to more natural sources. But how do you do that?
With a low glycaemic index, this can be used as a substitute in tea, coffee and baking.
The most natural, unrefined type of honey has a low GI. Honey possibly has antibacterial properties so can be a useful addition to your morning porridge if suffering from an infection.
Coming from the sap of the agave plant, the syrup is mostly made of fructose creating a lower GI than other sugars. Per gram, agave syrup is more sweet than granulated sugar so you don’t have to use much to create a sweet taste. This also saves you calories.
Hitting the headlines more and more now, the debate between sweeteners and sugar is rising.
Sweeteners are best known as aspartame and stevia.
Although testing has been conducted to determine the safety of artificial sweeteners, there is not enough evidence to support their safety.
However, the quantities you would have to consume to cause any extreme problems such as cancer are much higher than drinking a can of diet coke every so often.
As with all things in life, it is recommended to consume sweeteners in moderation to avoid any issues. Such issues can be diarrhoea and bloating.
To conclude, sugar in any form remains to cause debate over its nutritional value however, after all the debate, consuming sugar in small quantities will not cause adverse issues.