Know your sweet stuff

Who doesn’t love a little taste of something sweet? Unfortunately, indulge a little too much and you definitely won’t feel the love back. Excess sugar can lead to weight gain and sends our energy levels on a rollercoaster ride to exhaustion. Keeping your added sugar intake in check is a great idea for both you and future you.

First, which kind is which?

To cut back, you have to know what you’re dealing with. The carbohydrates glucose, fructose, lactose and sucrose are all types of sugar, but could you tell them apart? Sugar isn’t as simple as you might think.

Fructose is the simple sugar occurring naturally in fruits and is the sweetest of all sugar  types. It’s absorbed directly into the bloodstream, so it has less of an effect on blood glucose levels.

Glucose is another simple sugar and is the primary fuel needed by all the cells in our body. Glucose comes from the breakdown of carbohydrates in our digestive tract and is distributed through our blood throughout our body.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk, and contains two simple sugars stuck together that are broken down  slowly and absorbed into the bloodstream. The presence of lactose means that calcium, magnesium and zinc are more easily absorbed into the system.

Sucrose is what you and I call ‘sugar’ or ‘table sugar’ and what is most likely sitting in most of our pantries right now. It’s composed of the two simple sugars, fructose and glucose, and has a moderate GI level.

How much sugar is enough?

New proposed recommendations from the World Health Organisation suggest that our daily sugar intake shouldn’t exceed 5% of our daily energy intake (calories).

The easiest way to find out how much sugar you’re eating is to convert the amount listed in the nutritional panel into teaspoons. A single, standard teaspoon equals 4.2 grams. For an adult of normal weight, 5% is about three teaspoons, or 12.5 grams. To put that in perspective, 250ml of Cola or 250ml of apple juice contains roughly 6.4 teaspoons of sugar (26.8 grams).

At Freedom Foods, we make an effort to keep sugar low in all our products – and we do it without having to resort to artificial sweeteners.