Hold The Sugar, Sugar
Hold The Sugar, Sugar
At a restaurant, whenever I’m asked if I need any sugar for my coffee or iced tea, I sometimes say, “no thanks, I’m sweet enough as it is.” The truth about all sugar is that people are getting too much of it, which leads to being overweight, diabetes, and heart disease. CNN’s website has a story about sugar titled, “The best and worst sugars to eat before your workout” that says “the American Heart Association recommends that women eat no more than six teaspoons of added sugar a day and men no more than nine.” An added sugar is one that isn’t normally found in food such as high fructose corn syrup.
People do need sugar as a source of energy, especially if they’re active. But if a person is active, that doesn’t give him or her carte blanche to go out and binge eat every sugary dessert they can. The reason is that your body doesn’t burn all the sugar, but it does put some sugars to better use than others. So, what are some of the different types of sugars?
Going alphabetically, the first on the list is “fructose.” This type of sugar is found in fruit, honey, and vegetables. You may be thinking that this is good for you, and you’d be half right. An excessive amount of fructose means gaining weight, so you should limit how much you eat.
Next is “glucose,” which is found in foods such as pasta and bread. These “carbs” or carbohydrates are burned more efficiently because glucose is a monosaccharide, which is a simple sugar. It’s a great option to eat before working out. Again, just don’t overdo it. Whole grain toast with a small amount of peanut butter is enough.
After glucose is the sometimes dreaded “lactose.” Found in milk and dairy products, while great for muscles, it can cause stomach issues if your body can’t digest it. For people who are lactose intolerant, this sugar can be a deal-breaker due to the extreme discomfort it can cause.
“Maltose,” a sugar you don’t hear about very often, is from molasses. This sugar isn’t found naturally in many foods, yet it’s used by good manufacturers in many products, including the production of beer.
Finally, there’s “sucrose,” which is more commonly known as table sugar. This is a disaccharide from plants, such as sugar cane, and is used to make cookies and other similar foods. This is definitely one to skip before or after a workout, yet it’s one of the sugars people regularly consume.
All sugars play some role as nutrition for our body. Where we get it depends on the source. It’s better to eat fruits and whole grains versus a candy bar. Some sugars are digested and absorbed quickly, while others take longer. This can lead to that sensation of a sugar “crash,” which is why it’s better to eat a wide variety and the correct portion size of foods containing natural sugars so your body has a regular supply rather than a spike here and there.
Like most things, sugar is good for you if eaten in moderation. Check with a registered dietician or nutritionist to learn what’s right for your body and level of activity.