Can you just eat one or two Maltesers? Or do you find that all of a sudden the whole bag has gone and 30 minutes later you’re wanting more? The morning after the night before you wake up craving a fry up or bacon sandwich – tell me honestly, when did you wake up salivating for a salad on a hangover? So why can’t we get enough?
Because sugar is in everything. From the obvious sugary fizzy drinks to the crispy on the outside fluffy on the roast potato – even your curly kale has sugar in, we can’t escape it. But what is the difference in these types of sugars? Surely I can still eat
vegetables? Well, yes, of course. They are broken down two types of sugar:
Naturally-occurring sugars – This term refers to sugars that occur naturally in foods such as fructose in fruit, and lactose in milk and dairy products. Be aware, however, that fructose can also be used as an added sugar in some drinks, some food/energy bars, and some “natural” packaged foods (e.g. cookies in a health food shop).
Added sugars – An added sugar is any type of sugar that is added to food, such as the sugar you use in baking, or the sugar you add to your coffee. Added sugar can take many different forms, including: Raw sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, sucrose, glucose, fructose, malt, maltose, corn syrup, lactose, sorbitol, mannitol, honey, molasses, evaporated cane juice, and barley malt extract.
We are all aware that eating the cake will give us a quick burst of energy from the obvious refined sugar. This is called a spike in blood sugar and quickly wears off leaving us feeling sluggish, tired and a little grumpy perhaps. The same thing happens when you eat white bread or pasta, so try to avoid a large bowl of risotto on date-night, as the chances are you’ll end up in bed with anything more than a great night’s sleep dramatically decreased, so although not immediately obviously containing sugars, these foods are higher on the Glycemic Index chart.
If you were to eat a bowl of scrambled eggs with some broccoli or any other vegetables the carbohydrates are more slowly absorbed and digested causing a lower and slower rise in blood glucose, giving you a more even feeling, which isn’t so momentary and doesn’t leave you feeling like you need a quick lie down at 3’o’clock in the afternoon.
Another obvious difference is to look at the overall nutritional value of the food – vegetables are going to be far more nutritious containing fiber and essential vitamins and minerals to help our health and well-being stay on track whereas a food with added sugar will contain less of the good nutrients and more of the ingredients which our bodies find harder to break-down (but that is for a whole other blog!).