Confusion Over Sugar…

Tuesday Mar 23, 2010

Carbohydrate is the major source of fuel for metabolism.  Carbohydrates are converted to glycogen in the body. Glycogen is stored in the liver, muscles, and other organs, and is used for energy by the body as necessary.

We can classify carbohydrates into two main categories: the complex carbohydrates and the simple carbohydrates.

Complex carbohydrates – are in foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains (breads, cereals, pasta), and legumes (beans, peas, lentils). They are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Simple carbohydrates – come from processed foods (sweetened cereals and breakfast bars) or foods high in sugar (candy, sodas, and desserts).  These foods primarily contain: glucose, sucrose, fructose, and high-fructose corn syrup.  These foods are generally low in vitamins, minerals, and fiber (unless they are fortified).

Here is the list of the primary sugars in our diets:

Glucose – The main carbohydrate in the blood and the main carbohydrate energy source in the cell.

Fructose – The simple sugar found primarily in fruit and honey.  It is sweeter than the common table sugar (sucrose).

Galactose and Lactose – The sugars that are found in milk and milk products (many adults cannot digest lactose and are termed lactose intolerant).

Sucrose – Common table sugar. It is extracted from sugar cane and beet sugar.  Sucrose is the most common sugar in our diet.

High-fructose corn syrup – An especially sweet corn syrup in which 45-55% of the corn syrup’s carbohydrate is hydrolyzed (broken down) to the simple sugars: glucose and fructose.  Currently this is the predominant sweetener found in commercially sweetened foods because it is relatively cheap and easy to use due to its liquid form (this topic is very controversial in our society today).

Starch – Found in plants, seeds, and roots.  When digested it yields glucose and fiber.

Dietary fiber – A part of the plant that cannot be digested by human gut enzymes.  Fiber passes through the intestines and the colon.  There are many benefits for eating a high fiber diet such as: reducing the risk of heart disease, alleviating constipation, reducing onset risk for diabetes, etc.

It is always best to consume fresh foods, or foods that undergone the least processing. This way you will consume more complex carbohydrates and less simple carbohydrates (which are linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes).  It is not necessary to eliminate all simple carbohydrates from the diet, moderation is always the key!

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6 Comments »

P:
March 23rd, 2010 | 3:10 pm

what are some examples of high fiber foods?

March 26th, 2010 | 2:17 pm

Great stuff. Perhaps a little off topic, but would you mind if I write something about this on my tomato plant blog? I will of course, cite original source and link back to your page.

April 26th, 2010 | 5:58 am

Polek at Tomato Plants,
Sure go ahead… It’s a great topic you have for your blog! In my family we grow tomatoes as well, so i will be checking out your blog for more info 🙂

April 26th, 2010 | 7:38 am
Cheow Yu Yuan:

Cool, Thanks for posting! I really enjoyed the report. I’ve already bookmark this article. 🙂

May 24th, 2010 | 4:45 am
Magaly Sommerfeld:

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May 26th, 2010 | 8:19 pm
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