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Article: Is sugar really as bad as everyone says?

Ist Zucker wirklich so schlecht wie alle sagen? | paigh | Fair & gemütlich
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Is sugar really as bad as everyone says?

Did you also develop a kind of love-hate relationship with him? Everyone loves him, everyone wants him. And yet you hate it and would prefer to avoid it altogether: we're talking about sugar.
Global sugar consumption is still increasing and, especially in recent years, controversial debates about this food have repeatedly broken out. Are all species really as unhealthy as we think? Or can sugar also be healthy? If so, what type of sugar? In what quantities? And what about “modern” sweeteners like stevia?
I will try to answer all of these questions today.

What is sugar and how does it work?

Sugar is a carbohydrate and is found in countless dishes and foods. The white sugar we are most familiar with usually comes from sugar beet or sugar cane. It is extracted from these plants and then crystallized.

When we eat sugar, our body converts it into glucose. Glucose is a main source of energy for living organisms such as humans: for our muscles and brain, glucose is the primary and therefore most important “fuel”. So at the end of the day, we need sugar to function properly. So why is sugar so frowned upon?

Why does sugar have such a bad reputation?

Sugar can be extracted from two different types of carbohydrates: complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates.

Complex carbohydrates are found naturally in foods; Simple carbohydrates, on the other hand, are usually added to foods. They can be found in foods and drinks such as sweetened coffee, energy drinks, fruit juices, cornflakes and of course - most classic sweets. These simple carbohydrates cause our blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. The sharp rise is followed by an equally rapid drop in blood sugar, which is why we sometimes feel particularly tired after eating a sweet food.

But excessive sugar consumption has more and longer-term consequences than just fatigue. It's not just the pancreas that is stressed; High sugar consumption can also lead to weight gain, increase the risk of developing diabetes or high blood pressure, etc.

What about the “natural” sugars found in some foods?

Complex carbohydrates are found, for example, in whole grains, legumes and vegetables. As the name suggests, complex carbohydrates have a more complex structure than simple carbohydrates. This means it takes longer for the body to break down the sugar. It is digested and processed longer, ensuring a long-lasting energy supply and protecting the pancreas. Foods containing complex carbohydrates are therefore rich in nutrients, provide our brain and muscles with valuable energy and keep us full for longer.

aufgeschnittenes Obst in einer großen Schale auf einem Tuch vor schieferfarbenem Hintergrund neben einer angebrochenen Tafel Schokolade und Blütenblättern

PHOTO BY BRENDA GODINEZ ON UNSPLASH

And what about fruit?

People know that fruit can contain a lot of sugar and that's why many people try to avoid fruit. And it's true, sugar contains simple carbohydrates. But also complex carbohydrates. That makes things a little more complicated. One component of fruit makes all the difference: fiber. They are not contained in (artificially produced) fruit juices and slow down the absorption of sugar into the body. Not to mention, fruit naturally contains a whole host of other important nutrients and is an important part of a balanced diet.

Natural sweeteners: agave syrup, maple syrup, coconut blossom sugar.

These sweeteners are more natural than processed white sugar. So they're healthier too, right? However, our body breaks down and processes these types of sugar in the same way as classic sugar. Coconut blossom sugar, maple syrup and agave syrup still fall into the “simple carbohydrates” category. These sweeteners have a stronger flavor than white sugar and are particularly popular in baking. As long as everything is used in moderation, there is nothing wrong with consuming these natural sweeteners.

Sugar substitutes: Stevia and other artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are also under discussion. Many people choose sugar substitutes because they often contain hardly any calories. They have little effect on blood sugar levels and often taste sweeter than white sugar. Therefore, smaller amounts of sugar substitutes have the same sweetening effect as larger amounts of conventional sugar.
One current meta-analysis found that artificial sweeteners pose no risk of diabetes, kidney disease or high blood pressure. Another analysis However, points out that sugars can cause an increased BMI and can also cause other complications. In summary: Most previous studies are flawed and biased. Therefore, further research should be carried out in this area.
In general, it is advisable to choose whole, natural foods over processed foods whenever possible. And this also includes added sugar and artificial sweeteners.

In the next nutrition blog post, I'll introduce you to 10 ways you can get your sugar consumption under control.


If you want to learn more about healthy eating, mindfulness or sustainability, check out more exciting blog articles on these topics here .

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aufeinander gestapelter Zucker in Würfeln vor einem rotpinken Hintergrund

PHOTO BY MAE MU ON UNSPLASH

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