We've all heard that there are good fats and bad fats, good carbs and bad carbs. Did you know there are also good sugars that are critical for proper health?
We're not talking about cane sugar here, the white sugar that you find in big bags in your grocery store. That white sugar is sucrose and is found in plants and vegetables. In modern society it mostly comes from sugar cane and sugar beets. Sucrose is found in soda, fast food, frozen meals and just about any other processed food. The last thing we need in our lives is more sucrose!!
First, the basics. Just what is sugar? Just like oil is a catch-all name for a wide variety of substances, from trans fatty acids (bad) to omega-3 oils (good), sugar is a catch-all name for a variety of substances. It's not just cane sugar or sucrose. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate, but a specialized one. There are simple sugars, such as glucose, and complex sugars, such as lactose.
Simple Sugar / Monosaccharide
fructose = fruit sugar
glucose = basic breakdown of carbs
galactose = basic breakdown of lactose
The above basic sugars all have the chemical formula of C6H12O6. They are each just arranged in different orders.
Complex Sugar / Disaccharide
lactose (glucose + galactose) = milk sugar
maltose (glucose + glucose) = beer / bread sugar
sucrose (fructose + glucose) = cane sugar
Note that there are also polysaccharides - long chains of sugars which are also known as starches. Starches are broken down in your system into a large pile of glucose and maltose.
When you take your blood sugar tests, which many diabetics do daily, you are actually measuring your glucose level. That is because carbs and complex sugars all break down into glucose in your body, and it is glucose that your body reacts to as far as insulin production.
An interesting sidebar is that fruits and vegetables change in their sugar content as they grow. Fruits start out with low sugar (fructose) content, but gradually develop more fructose as they mature. On the other hand, vegetables begin life with high sugar content, and this turns to starch as the vegetable ripens. So for low sugar intake, eat your fruits young and your vegetables ripe.
Note also that females can create lactose, starting with the basic blocks of glucose and galactose. This is how they breast feed their babies.
Back to sugars and health. While sucrose is overwhelming our diet, there are actually other sugars that are critical to take on a daily basis. These are the 8 essential sugars.
Continue Reading - The Eight Essential Sugars
Jump To - Healthy Amounts of Sugar to Eat
Ambrotose Sugar Supplement Info
Arabinogalactan Sugar Supplement Info
Manapol Sugar Supplement Info
Dangers of Sugar Consumption
Lisa Shea's Library of Low Carb Books