Added Sugars vs. Natural Sugars

metabolic efficiency nutrition sport nutrition Feb 05, 2024

As I am sure you are aware, I am all about optimizing blood sugar (metabolic efficiency training) by combining the right amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fat throughout the day. So where does sugar fit into the equation? I am often asked about “natural” versus “added” sugars so let’s explore each of these.

Added Sugars

Added sugars are those incorporated into food and beverages during processing or preparation. Common examples include sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners. These sugars contribute to the sweetness of various products but often provide little to no nutritional value. Eating too many added sugars has been linked to various health issues, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Food labels can help identify added sugars in products. Simply look at the “added sugars” row on the nutrition facts label to determine how many are added to a product. Additionally, look for ingredients like corn syrup, agave nectar, or anything ending in -ose, like fructose and glucose. These are all added sugars. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily added sugar intake to no more 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women.

Natural Sugars

Natural sugars are inherently present in whole, unprocessed foods. They come bundled with essential nutrients, fiber and antioxidants that contribute to overall health. Fruits, vegetables and dairy products contain natural sugars, such as fructose in fruits and lactose in dairy. Consuming these foods provides a host of vitamins and minerals along with the natural sugars, offering a balanced and nutritious package.

Unlike added sugars, the sugars in whole foods come with fiber, which slows down their absorption, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. Additionally, the presence of other nutrients aids in satiety, reducing the likelihood of overconsumption.

Reducing added sugar intake while embracing natural sugars from whole foods is a key step in supporting health and performance.  fresh fruits, vegetables and minimally processed foods to satisfy sweet cravings without the detrimental effects associated with excessive added sugar consumption.

Be sure to read food labels, choose water or herbal teas instead of sugary beverages and incorporate a variety of whole foods into your daily nutrition plan. Striking a balance and being mindful of the sources of sugars in your diet empowers you to make choices that support both your taste buds and your health.

For more educational articles, visit the eNRG Performance website.






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