By Lauren Rolerat | July 13, 2020
Sugar is used to sweeten, preserve, and enhance the flavor of foods. And whether you have a sweet tooth or not, there’s probably some of it in the food you’re eating. But not all sugar is created equal and it’s important to understand where yours comes from. Here are four reasons you should be paying attention to the sugar sources in your foods.
Also known as GI, this is the measure of a food’s potential to increase blood sugar levels. Foods with higher GI’s can cause rapid spikes in your blood sugar and insulin.
Sugar sources commonly found in processed foods such as glucose, corn syrup, and table sugar all have high GI’s of 100, 90, and 63, respectively.
If you’re looking for sources of sugar that keep your blood sugar levels steadier with moderate to low GI’s, natural sources are the way to go. Maple syrup and coconut sugar have GI’s around 54 and date syrup is around 42. Honey (especially the raw kind) can have a GI as low as 35.
When grocery shopping, look for snacks made with one of these natural sugars such as FitJoy Grain Free Honey Mustard Pretzels which use honey and contain 0 added sugars.
Micronutrients are important for many essential processes such as energy production, immune function, blood clotting, and bone health.
Refined sugars like high fructose corn syrup and table sugar are stripped of all vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial properties during processing. Whereas, natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, agave, and coconut sugar are rich in a range of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
When choosing a natural sweetener to buy at the store, try to find products with the least amount of processing such as raw honey and pure maple syrup. Lots of the commercial syrups on the market are just corn syrup flavored and colored to look like maple syrup. Your body won’t reap any benefits from them.
Most types of sugar used to sweeten your foods are made up of different ratios of sucrose, fructose, and/or glucose, each of which have different sweetness levels. Due to the composition of honey, agave, and maple syrup, all of these are sweeter than standard table sugar. This means that you can use less of these sweeteners in your food, reducing your overall sugar and calorie intake.
Processed sugars like corn syrup and table sugar are all made in large factories. But using natural sugars like honey and maple syrup can be a great way to support local businesses. You can often find raw honey and pure maple syrup at farmers markets or local grocery stores.
The American Heart Association recommends that you consume only 8 teaspoons of added sugar per day for a 2000 calorie diet. So, remember to practice moderation no matter the sugar source you use. Check the labels on your foods to see where the sugars are coming from. Try to opt for products and recipes sweetened with natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, or date syrup to start reaping the benefits today!