Sugar – which one is healthy?
For decades, we’ve been reading and hearing about the risks of high-sugar diets and how they contribute to various medical conditions. I feel happy that people have taken notes & have consciously cut down on extra sugar but I am unhappy about all the misconceptions floating around about sugar, and how one can choose a “healthy” sweetener instead of the simple white sugar.
We all love sweets and we indulge in them every now and then. To cut back on extra calories, we hunt for sugar free recipes to avoid that guilt and to happily binge on the sweet dish. Here are some facts you need to know so that you can be smarter with the sweet stuff :
Desserts made with honey aren’t “sugar free”. You may come across online recipes that claim they’re sugar free like cookies, brownies and even energy bars because they substitute sugar with honey or molasses. Honey has the same amount of calories as white sugar so all those sweets at the end have hefty amount of empty calories.
Brown sugar isn’t healthier than white. Just like brown breads may seem healthier than white breads (they are not), brown sugar sometimes get a pass as wholesome sweetener because of it’s colour. Basically, brown sugar get its colour from added molasses which also enhances it’s flavour. it does not have any extra nutrients per serving that can benefit the body as a healthy sweetener.
Honey is not a “natural” sugar. Yes, you heard it right. I am pretty sure people who are reading this will be shocked. This goes true with maple syrup and jaggery as well. Scientifically, “natural” sugars are those that occur in the foods such as fructose in fruits or lactose in milk. Honey, jaggery, maple syrup and white sugar are categorised as “added” sugars because we add them to our food and drinks. So when you hear medical professionals advising you to cut down the sugar intake, they are talking about honey, jaggery and maple syrup too. Now you can straight away eliminate the warm water and honey drink first thing in the morning to lose weight.
Throwing more light on jaggery, it does have added nutrients like iron, zinc and selenium which prevents free-radicals and works as an antioxidant. However, it has the same amount of calories as white sugar and should be used cautiously to avoid weight gain and high blood glucose. It is wiser to look out for other foods which can provide these minerals and complement our bodies.
Bottom Line : Adding a lot of sugar in your food and drinks is going to harm you for sure no matter what kind of sweetener you choose. So choose the sweetener that suits your taste buds the best and use it sparingly. Moreover, added sugars are never a requirement for the body, the natural sugars we acquire from foods, if taken wisely, are enough to make you thrive.