01/5​Not all sugars are bad

What is refined sugar and how bad is it for you

People have become more wary about the consumption of sugar as its detrimental health effects are being brought to light. Unfortunately, people end up avoiding sugars that occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, and nuts thinking that ‘sugar’ is harmful in general. This is not true, as naturally occurring sugar poses no threat to the body, and only refined sugar is the real culprit here.

02/5​What is refined sugar

What is refined sugar and how bad is it for you1

To make refined sugar, raw sugar or sucrose is extracted from sugarcane or any other plant with naturally occurring sugars, which then undergoes processing to remove molasses. The most common types of refined sugar are table sugar or white sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. When doctors and dieticians say cut down on sugar, this is the kind of sugar they refer to.

03/5​How bad is refined sugar

What is refined sugar and how bad is it for you3

Well, the consumption of sugar is ill-advised by health professionals, so it must be pretty bad for you. Refined sugars are responsible for a wide array of health problems, such as obesity and excess belly fat, which are risk factors for more serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Refined sugars, in particular high-fructose corn syrup may cause a resistance to leptin, a hormone that signals hunger and satiety, which explains the link between refined sugar and obesity. Diets high in refined sugars are linked with an increased risk of many conditions like type-2 diabetes, depression, liver disease, dementia, and even certain types of cancer. Ravish Basist, a fitness and nutrition expert says, “Refined sugar is bad as much as it tastes delicious because of its high calorie content, and if you have a diabetic history in your family, let’s say high blood fat levels – then consuming sugar will adversely affect your kidneys and pancreas increasing your triglycerides level in the blood, which is a risk factor for heart disease and inflammation.”

04/5​How are natural sugars good for health

What is refined sugar and how bad is it for you4

Unlike refined sugars which contain empty calories, foods that contain natural sugars also contain many other nutrients. Ravish suggests, “Natural sugar is the best substitute that is found in fruits as fructose and in dairy products such as milk and cheese as lactose. You can also use jaggery and honey for sweetening, as they have countless health benefits as well; foods with natural sugar has an important role in the diet of cancer patients.” Fructose in fruits is accompanied with fiber, and lactose in milk is accompanied with protein. Therefore not only are these sugars occurring naturally, but by consuming them, you also get a healthy intake of other nutrients.

05/5Avoid refined sugars

What is refined sugar and how bad is it for you 5

Refined sugar is commonly added to foods like sodas, packaged foods, or ice creams, all of which are considered unhealthy not only because of the high sugar content, but also because these foods contain other unhealthy compounds like high salt, added fats, and artificial colouring. Seeing the health implications of refined sugar, it is a wise idea to eliminate, or at least minimize its consumption.

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