Sugar has been blamed for some health issues such as obesity, diabetes, dental caries, hyperactivity. There are names aside from sugar – saccharides, glucose, dextrose, levulose. Sugar in general is one group of foods which we eat as it includes table sugar (white, brown), confectioner’s (powdered), molasses, syrup, honey, jams, jellies, candies, bubble tea, condensed milk, powdered juices most of which are fruit-flavored and the like. You may read these even in food labels and they are all sugar – sorbitol, levulose, lactose, mannitol, dextrin, fructose, maltose, high fructose corn syrup.
“Glucose” is often used to refer to the circulating blood sugar in the body but there are actually glucose preparations as those in intravenous solutions, commonly referred to as dextrose, and some used in the food industry. Note that all carbohydrate-rich foods we eat are broken down into glucose in the body. Glucose is the preferred source of energy in the body especially the brain such that when our intake of carbohydrates is not enough for our energy needs, the body has a mechanism to convert the end products of the digestion of protein-rich and fat-rich foods into glucose so it can provide energy.
Sugar is a carbohydrate food and ready source of calories and expensive it maybe, it can be the cheapest calorie source. One drawback is that sugar provides calories only, no vitamins nor minerals nor other health benefits thus labeled as “junk” or “empty calorie” food. As far as weight is concerned, the quantity of any sugar intake determines its caloric contribution to the body. One serving which is one teaspoon (tsp) or 5 grams for most of the different sources, or 5 ml syrup provides 20 calories such that if you use 3 tsp for every cup of coffee, then that is already 60 calories. An 8-ounce of soft drink contains 5 tsp thus provides 100 calories. Bubble teas may contain about 15 or more grams of sugar translating to 60 calories or more, depending on the preparation and size. While it may be good for those who want to gain weight, the total amount in a day should still fall within the recommendation of 5-6 servings. For those who want to reduce weight, it is the number one item in the diet that should be reduced if not totally eliminated. Note that the calories obtained from any form of sugar, can be obtained from other food items that can provide more nutrients.
Can sugar be included in the diet of a diabetic? Why not? To be continued..