Photo by Wikipedia.
As the weather gets colder, we can't help but think about baking
and cookies and waiting for Santa. When we start planning what to
bake around the holidays, we know our #1 ingredient will be sugar.
But sugar is not just for baking. In fact, it's in a lot of foods
that may surprise you! Knowing the facts about sugar can help you
make smarter food choices today, tomorrow and during the
Sugar is composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, but it
comes in many forms. Sugar comes in many forms! Our bodies convert
the sugar in foods into glucose or blood sugar. Table
sugar or sucrose is part glucose, part fructose. Fructose
is the sugar in fruit. Maltose is the sugar in beer
and is two parts glucose. Milk sugar, or lactose, is part
glucose, part galactose. Dextrose is glucose that comes from plants
like corn and grapes. Got it?
Almost all foods that are not meat contain natural sugars.
From vegetables to beans to breads, our body processes the
sugars in our food differently. The carbohydrates in
vegetables, beans and whole grains are broken apart and used slowly
and efficiently by the body. Sugar in the form of
starches like bread, pasta, corn and potatoes are composed of
chains of sugars that break down quickly.
The hormone that manages the process of breaking down
sugars is called insulin. When glucose is present in our
bloodstream, insulin levels spike to help manage our use of it in
various body tissues. Once the glucose has been used or stored as
fat, our insulin levels dip, signaling us to eat again. It's
important to eat sugar in moderation so that your body can regulate
it normally. If not, you could be at risk for high blood
pressure, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes or even
asthma or cancer.
If you want to try to curb your sugar cravings which can come in
the form of bread or pasta or dessert, it's good to eat foods that
have less sugar and high-quality fat. Try to incorporate nuts,
avocados, coconuts or olives as snacks. Bananas, kiwi, pineapples
and plums also contain serotonin, which can help the brain
Want to know more about sugar? Keep reading!