There’s maybe no substance more highly discussed than sugar. Many health professionals warn we consume far too much sugar, but it naturally exists in so many foods and still plays a huge role in our daily lives. It’s not going away, so we may as well learn to live with it.
Instead of going cold turkey on sugar, let’s have a good conversation about it. There’s plenty of noise out there, but Vejo has a team of doctors and nutritionists who have research-backed advice to share. This article can serve as your first step towards understanding sugar, the role it plays in your nutrition, and what you should do about it.
What is Sugar?
Sugars are sweet-tasting, simple carbohydrates. They break down quickly in the gastrointestinal tract and get rapidly released into the bloodstream. Alternatively, whole grains and vegetables contain complex carbohydrates, which break down more slowly. Both simple and complex carbohydrates break down into glucose, which is used by every cell in the body to generate energy and act as a fuel source for the brain.
“Refined sugar” most commonly refers to sucrose, or basic white table sugar, which is processed from sugar beets or sugar cane. Overall, though, there are numerous forms of sugar:
- Fructose: found in fruits and honey
- Galactose: found in milk and dairy products
- Glucose: found in honey, fruits, and vegetables
- Lactose: found in milk, made from glucose and galactose
- Maltose: found in barley
- Sucrose: made up of glucose and fructose and found in plants
- High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS): a man-made sugar, derived from corn
- Fruit-based sugars (e.g. date and coconut sugars)
- Syrups (e.g. rice, maple, sorghum, and molasses)
Other common names for added sugars include(27, 28):
- Cane juice
- Evaporated cane sugar
- Beet sugar
- Palm sugar
- Anhydrous dextrose
- Brown sugar
- Confectioners powdered sugar
- Corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt syrup
- Nectars (e.g. peach or pear nectar)
- Raw sugar
- White granulated sugar
- Coarse sugar
- Pearl sugar
How Much Sugar Should I Eat?
Less. Much less. In general, Americans are large consumers of sugar. Data has shown that children, adolescents, and adults in the United States all consume more added sugar than the recommended amount(17). The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that women should consume no more than 100 calories a day (about 6 teaspoons) and men should consume no more than 150 calories a day (about 9 teaspoons) from added sugars(8).
How Does Sugar Affect My Health?
There are countless effects of increased sugar in our diets. Here are a few of the more common, well-researched, outcomes:
Tips for Reducing Sugar in Your Diet
Now that we’ve established that a high intake of sugar can be detrimental to your health, let’s talk about what you can do about it.
Just because a food is sweet, doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy. The trick is to avoid eating foods that exist only to be sweet.
Vejo blends are a doctor- and nutritionist-formulated way to get a naturally sweet flavor (with no added sugars) and essential nutrients and vitamins. They taste great, while also providing the benefits of nutrient-dense foods. For example, our Tropical blend is delicious with organic banana, mango, orange, and passion fruit—and also is a good source of vitamin C. Our Tart Berry Blend is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber—and tastes great as well.
There’s no black or white answer to your health and nutrition. But, it all starts with knowledge. Once you’re aware of what you’re putting in your body (and what it can do to your body), you’ll naturally start to take a hard look at the role sugar plays in your life.
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