Foods with a lot of added sugar are often poor sources of nutrition. It is easy to get more energy (calories) than you need from eating these sweet foods. Therefore it is good to consume less soda, juice, candy, ice cream, cakes and foods with a lot of added sugar. Certain foods may contain a lot of added sugars without tasting sweet, for example pasta sauces. We recommend always reading the nutrition information.
What is sugar?
Sugar is a collective name for several different sugars. Sucrose, the sugar used for sweetening food, consists of glucose and fructose. Sucrose only provides calories and lacks vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers. Even honey consists of 80% sugar and contains insignificant amounts of vitamins and minerals. Other kinds of sugars like syrup and raw sugar are largely comparable to white sugar, nutritionally empty.
Added sugar is sugar that is not naturally present in the raw material. In foods, sugar can be added as an ingredient under various names such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, invert sugar, honey or high fructose corn syrup.
How much sugar can you eat?
There are no positive effects on the health of eating sugar. Glucose, on the other hand, is needed for brain function. But because carbohydrates in the form of, for example, starch found in potatoes, rice and pasta, can break down to glucose in the body there is no need to eat added sugar.
There is added sugar in many products that you may not think of as particularly sweet, like certain fruit yogurts, pasta sauces, bread and even alcohol.
If more than 10% of the calories you consume comes from sugars, it is difficult to get enough nutritious foods that provide enough vitamins and minerals without consuming too many calories. Sugar also increases the risk of caries, holes in the teeth.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the intake of free sugars is less than 10 percent of the energy intake. Free sugars are defined as added sugar and sugar naturally found in honey, sugar, fruit juice and fruit juice concentrate. The WHO has also made an addition in its recommendation that the intake of free sugars may be less than 5 percent of the energy to further reduce the risk of caries.
How can you reduce the sugar?
Avoid eating sweet foods like soda, candy, ice cream, cakes and buns, especially for everyday purposes. In particular, you should avoid soda and other sweet drinks, as it is easy to drink large amounts without even noticing it. When eating out at restaurants, ask for unsweetened drinks, sauces and foods.
Do different sorts of sugar have different effects on health?
Glucose and fructose react differently in the body. However in normal amounts, fructose does not appear to be worse for health than glucose. On the other hand, large amounts of fructose appear to affect the fat deposits, sometimes the liver, and may also impair the blood fats.
High fructose corn syrup, which is common in beverages from the United States, is a mixture of fructose and glucose, often in the same proportions as sucrose. High fructose corn syrup is therefore neither better nor worse than plain sugar.
What about alternatives to sugar?
There are both natural and artificial sweeteners on the markets today. We mainly use stevia for our foods. It is also good to get accustomed to eating less sweet for certain dishes instead of adding sweetener.