Sugar is a type of nutrient which belongs to the class of food called carbohydrates. There are three major classes of sugar namely Monosaccharides (e.g. glucose), Oligosaccharides (e.g. sucrose and fructose) and Polysaccharides (e.g. starch). Many sugars exist such as sucrose (in sugar cane), lactose (in milk) and maltose (in cereals).
Sweet and satisfactory as it may be to our taste cells, sugar is one of the main risks to man’s health that must not be overlooked as it poses a substantial amount of health problems. I must say that sugar is considered important nutritionally as it serves as fuel on which our body runs. This means that without sugar at all, the body will have no energy and the body cells may die.
The recommended daily consumption of sugar which is considered healthy is 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women. A higher intake of sugar however increases the risk of many health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Why is it the enemy?
Many of the ‘modernized’ foods, otherwise called processed foods that we eat today have high contents of added sugars. These added sugars are found in sweet chocolate bars, candies, refined table sugar, baked goods, sweetened milk, processed fruit juice, soft drinks, processed cereals, cookies, etc.
The regular consumption of these foods over a long period of time results in chronic health problems such as:
- Heart Disease
- Fatty Liver Disease
- Insulin resistance
The Way Out
There are natural sweeteners which are considered to be healthier choices than sugar. They are:
- Yacon Syrup
- Coconut sugar
- Maple syrup
Fruits and vegetables Contain Natural Sugar
Virtually all fruits we consume contain natural sugars which are healthy and far better than table sugar. Some vegetables and natural cereals also fall into this category. Examples are:
- Prunes, etc.
In conclusion, every form of sugar should be consumed with moderation as the consumption of anything in excess will have an adverse effect on health.