A healthy diet is one that should be low in added sugars. Now, this raises an obvious question, what are added sugars?
It’s easy to get confused when people talk about reducing your sugar intake as all food contains sugars in some form. Look at fruit, for example, apples will contain lots of sugar, so should you cut them out of your diet? No, because these are natural sugars that occur within a food substance that’s also nutritionally beneficial.
Keeping that in mind, today’s blog will explain what added sugars are and why it’s important to reduce them from your diet.
What are added sugars?
In simple terms, added sugars are sugars that have been added to a food substance for one reason or another. Usually, it’s for taste reasons. They come with extra calories but provide nothing else for your body.
Contrastingly, you have natural sugars in whole foods. These are the naturally-occurring sugars you see in fruit or dairy products. They exist within food already and are usually not as bad as added sugars. Why? Because natural sugar comes with all the other nutrients in the food. Take a banana, it has natural sugars but also loads of fiber to help digest the sugar. You’re not eating empty calories; you’re getting something that’s more nutritious than foods with added sugars.
Why should you cut down on added sugars?
There are many reasons to cut down on added sugars in your diet. Here are three of the biggest:
Maintain a healthy weight
The problem with added sugars is that they boost the calories in many things you eat. This is why candy and chocolates can have hundreds of calories in such small portions. To make matters worse, added sugar doesn’t quench your hunger. You can eat loads of things with high amounts of added sugar and still feel hungry. So, you have to keep eating, which eventually leads to weight gain.
Try to cut down on foods with added sugars and opt for more natural sweet snacks instead. I’ve mentioned it before, but fruit is a great example. It satisfies your urge for sweetness, but it’s nutritionally beneficial and can help you feel full.
Reduce the risk of heart disease
Heart disease is a serious problem and kills many people every day. One of the main reasons people suffer from it is because they’re overweight and have too much fat stored in their bodies. This can often happen when you eat too much added sugar. Cut down on it, and you lower the risk of heart disease.
Protect your oral health
Lastly, sugar is really bad for your teeth. It causes bacteria in your mouth that leads to cavities, culminating in trips to multiple dentists. If you want to avoid constantly paying for expensive dental treatment – not to mention the pain that comes with oral health problems – then it’s time to cut down on added sugars.
It’s easy to spot foods that have or don’t have added sugars as it is typically mentioned on the food label. If you want to be sure, just stick to a mainly whole food diet. You can have some sugary treats now and then, but make them a rarity rather than a daily thing.