Sugar and Its Importance to Our Lives

Sugar and Its Importance to Your Life

Sugar and Its Importance to Your Life

Even though simple sugars get a lot of bad news, they are still healthier for you than artificial sweeteners. The simple fact is that these sugars come from natural sources and any natural source is far healthier than an artificially produced sweetener. Here is the rundown on the benefits, drawbacks, and sources of simple sugar.

Benefits of Simple Sugar

When blood sugar drops too low, it is called a hypoglycemic state. A person can develop a headache, become disoriented, and have many other negative symptoms when in this state. Typically people become hypoglycemic after fasting, doing intense exercise, or being subjected to extreme stress. Simple sugar balances out the effects of hypoglycemia by quickly providing glucose to the brain.

Also, when sugar is consumed in such a manner as to maintain balance in your system, it can contribute to building a strong immune system and sustain endurance throughout the day, especially when exercising.

Drawbacks of Simple Sugar

The main drawback of sugar is that it has very little nutritional value and excess sugar consumed gets stored as fat. Other drawbacks include:

• Promotes tooth decay
• Goes against the benefits of nutrients the body needs
• Makes you full so that you won’t want healthy food
• Feeds cancer cells
• Contributes to coronary artery diseases
• Causes weight gain

Remember that sugar is empty calories thus they provide energy but no nutrients. This is why a bit of simple sugar will perk you up but will not provide much else. Eating foods with a lot of sugar will fill you up but will not give you the nutrition your body requires. When you are full, you have no room for what is healthy.

Sugar causes the secretion of insulin so that it can be metabolized into energy that the cells can use. Eating a lot of sugar all at once causes a surge in the secretion of insulin known as a spike. Spikes over time tend to wear out the pancreas and not enough insulin means that all of the sugar will not get converted to energy and the excess gets stored as fat. Thus, people who eat too much sugar gain weight and can even develop type 2 diabetes.

Too much sugar affects the cardiac system as well. It causes an increase in triglycerides which can result in arteriosclerosis, a blockage in the arteries that leads to cardiac arrest.

Types of Sugar

When you look at the package labeling of various foods, you will see different names for sugars. Here are some of the different types of sugar that you should be aware of:

• White sugar – what we all know as white table sugar
• Brown sugar – white sugar with molasses to give it the brown coloring
• Sugar alcohol – sugar sometimes used in “diet” candies; occurs in fruits and vegetables and goes by names Manitol, Xylitol, and Sorbitol
• Honey – made by bees after extracting nectar from flowers
• Glucose – found in many fruits and occurs during the fermentation of starch
• Raw sugar – crystals of dried sugar cane juice; not processed or refined; the true brown sugar
• Fructose – a sugar product after purifying fruit
• Corn Syrup – glucose derived from refined corn kernels
• Malted Barley – sugar extracted from a cereal grain known as barley; used in the process of brewing beer
• Maltose – a product of germinating grain
• Lactose – sugar found in mammal milk
• Molasses – juice obtained from sugar beet or sugar cane and heated to form a dark brown syrup
• Maple Sugar – comes from the sap in maple trees
• Dextrose – glucose that comes from corn starch
• Trehalose – also obtained from corn starch
• Stevia – a pure organic sugar found in a South American herb by the same name

All of us are familiar with white table sugar. It comes from granulated sugar beet or sugar cane that has been further refined making it extremely simple and practically void of any nutritional value. When consumed, it provides a quick energy boost because the simple form allows it to pass easily into the bloodstream.

Not all brown sugars are the same. Processed brown sugar is oftentimes died with molasses or some other coloring and it is actually simple white sugar. It is different from raw sugar which comes from the crystallized juices of sugar cane juice and is purely organic and much healthier for you.
Honey is not only sweet but medicinal as well. This is because the content of honey consists of over 70 substances proven to be biologically active to include sucrose and glucose. If you are going to sweeten something, honey is probably the best for you.

Maple sugar is another healthy sweetener much like honey. It contains the biologically active substances such as sucrose and fructose. It is also full of minerals such as zinc and packed with vitamins.

Continuing with the list of healthy sugars, there is molasses. It is also packed with vitamins, nutrients, and other natural substances such as vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, iron, sucrose, fructose, and glucose. It is so packed with these nutrients that some fulfill a good portion of the daily requirements. For example, the amount of magnesium contained in molasses provides up to 60% of the daily requirement for a person. Calcium, vitamin B6, and iron contained in molasses make up for 25%, 30%, and 50% of the daily requirements respectively.

Trehalose is another natural source of energy extracted from cornstarch and converted to a white powder much like table sugar. It occurs naturally in trace amounts in other healthy foods such as honey, mushrooms, and lobster.

Recommendations for Consuming Sugar

Sugar is not that harmful to you if consumption is controlled. Other recommendations for consuming sugar include:

• Eating raw forms of sugar
• Being aware of packaged foods with too much sugar
• Eating a variety of food filled with nutrients
• Taking supplements from plant sources
• Keeping sugar intake low
• Brushing after meals
• Eating low glycemic foods

Remember that eating too much food with simple sugars means that you will eat less that is healthy and filled with nutrients. Thus, your body is robbed of the elements such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. This leads to secondary health problems that show in a person’s skin, energy level, and overall healthy disposition.

Supplements from plant sources such as vitamin B1 (thiamine), calcium, and minerals ensure that your body won’t try to rob these from your tissues and bones if they are not supplied through food sources. For example, if you don’t get enough calcium in your diet then the body will try to rob it from your bones which can lead to osteoporosis.

As mentioned before, it just makes good sense to keep sugar intake low each day because not doing so can lead to several types of serious health conditions such as coronary artery disease and Diabetes. The same applies to eating low glycemic foods because not doing so makes the pancreas (which secretes insulin) work too hard leading to insulin spikes. These insulin spikes mean result in not all of the sugar being used as energy and the excess getting stored as fat.

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Brushing after meals is very important when consuming sugar. This is because without brushing bacteria in the mouth turns sugar into acids that eat away at tooth enamel resulting in cavities. If brushing after a particular meal is not convenient, chew some gum that contains Xylitol. Xylitol is a form of sugar alcohol that is used to replace corn sweeteners and sucrose in other types of gums.

Sugar is one of the pleasures of life and it is difficult to avoid it altogether. However, by understanding the natural types of simple sugars you can make informed choices as to the foods you eat daily. Plus, by being aware of the many types of simple sugars out there, you can take measures to ensure that you get the right vitamins, nutrients, and minerals each day to maintain good nutrition and general health.

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