A practical guide about sugars

13 de May de 2021

The body breaks down carbohydrates, which include sugars and starches, into glucose. Sugars are an important source of energy, and glucose is the most important one for our bodies. The human brain needs about 130 grams of sugar (glucose) per day to keep functioning. Glucose can be found in a variety of foods, such as honey, fruits and vegetables.

The other most common sugars found in foods and beverages are:

Sucrose. It is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, and is extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets to produce table sugar (the one you normally buy at the supermarket or grocery store).

Fructose and glucose. They are found in honey, fruits and vegetables.

Lactose. Found in milk and dairy products, such as cheese and yogurts.

Maltose. It is made from cereals and is found in beverages such as beer.

Different types of sugars are processed and used for various purposes, but you should be aware that the body does not distinguish between sugars added in production or cooking and those found naturally in fruits or vegetables.

For example, the sucrose in an apple is digested in the same way as natural sugar. However, the rate at which the sugar (sucrose) is absorbed can vary depending on its source, since a solid food, such as an apple, is not the same as a liquid, such as apple juice.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake. Furthermore, it indicates that a reduction below 5%, the equivalent of about 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day, brings additional health benefits.

Finally, you should remember that when we talk about free sugars we are referring to all those that the manufacturer, cook or consumer adds to foods or beverages, in addition to sugars that are already naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.


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