When you think about going sugar-free, you will quickly realize that whole, fresh foods also contain sugar. However, this is not the same as the added sugar in baked goods, bacon, deli meats, and most processed foods. It is considered natural sugar, so it should not be counted toward your daily allotment of sugar. Here are some things to know about the different between added and natural sugar.
The Basics of Natural Versus Added Sugar
People often get confused when they are told to give up sugar or reduce it in their diet, because when you add fresh, clean foods and look at the nutrition, it seems high in sugar. One thing to keep in mind is that natural sugars should be perfectly fine. It is the added sugars that are bad for you. The basic difference between natural and added sugar is that natural sugars already exist in certain foods, while the added sugars do not, and are added later to change the taste of the food.
You might think of added sugar as cane sugar, powdered sugar, and brown sugar, but there are many other variations as well. These are all considered to be added sugar, since they are using the sweeteners to add sugar to other foods. You should really try to keep your daily added sugar amount under 25 grams a day, though your doctor might increase or decrease this number depending on your health and dietary guidelines.
Some added sugars include cane sugar, brown sugar, golden sugar, date sugar, and coconut sugar. There are also other sweeteners sometimes added to foods with different names, also included in the added sugar rule, such as agave, fruit juice concentrate, fructose, maltodextrin, maple syrup, and sucrose.
Why Are Added Sugars Bad for You?
Added sugars affect different people in different ways, but in general, they have quite a few adverse health effects. They can cause weight gain or make it hard to lose weight, lead to fatigue and drowsiness, spike your blood sugar levels, and lower your immune system. If you want more energy, go for the natural sugars only.
Your natural sugars are those found naturally in foods without being added to them. The two main forms include fructose and lactose. Fructose is often found in fresh fruits and vegetables, while lactose is found in milk. If you want something sweet, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy products, and skip all those added sugars.