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It is unfortunate that white sugar has been labelled as one of the worst things to consume. By extension, most of today’s advertising screams the benefits of natural sugar. Hardly a day goes by without seeing recipes that are touted as healthy, only because it has no white sugar.
But the truth is that our body converts all food to energy. It then uses that energy as fuel. Another truth is that all sweeteners have a similar amount of sugar. As with anything else being consumed, the body converts it into glucose, which has the same effect on blood sugar levels.
There are, however, some sweeteners that have nutritional value because of other elements being present in their composition, like iron, minerals etc. Some sweeteners have a slightly lower glycaemic load like coconut sugar. However, since coconut sugar isn’t as sweet as white sugar, you need to add more of it into your preparation, which thereby offsets the minute benefit.
We spend so much time trying to figure out which sugar is the best that we miss the more important factors. It’s like trying to clean your house when it’s on fire. Cutting out sugar is not a sustainable activity for a regular person. Limiting sugar or sweeteners is the smart thing to do.
From experience, and after careful measurement, I have learnt that sugar must not exceed 10% of your daily calorie intake. Where we get totally overwhelmed is in our consumption of what I call added or unnecessary sugar.
Think ready-made sauces, ready to eat soups, and tomato ketchup. Then there are delicious desserts all around. And then, the most sugar laden food, the wolf in sheep’s clothing: juices and fruit smoothies. Even without any extra added sugar, a glass will take you over the limit for the day.
Similarly, there are common food ingredients like ‘maida’ that increase your blood sugar levels. Maida has the same effect on the body as sugar does. Remember, all carbs convert to sugars. Refined carbs create the highest spikes. These spikes are the things to be careful of, and must be avoided as much as possible.
The idea is to not fret about which sugar is better, but instead, ensure you don’t over-consume it. Focus on the big picture for long term health.
In summation, natural sweeteners are definitely better. Eating a date is definitely better than eating sugar. But if you eat 10 dates at a time, but are extremely careful about the half-teaspoon of sugar that goes into your tea, it’s being penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Sweeteners, like anything else that goes into your mouth must be consumed in moderation. The type of sweetener really does not matter. Don’t over-eat. That is the best possible measure for success in your health and fitness journey.
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