One minute a certain food is great for us, the next minute it’s not. It’s hard for people in the know to keep up, let alone for anyone who isn’t an expert! We’re constantly hit with headlines in the media about how sugar is bad for our health and that sweets of any kind should be swerved. This is actually stupid, and having a desire for sweet-tasting foods is perfectly acceptable and natural – and this is coming from a savoury fan!
Our tongues boast loads of sweet receptors, and with good reason. Fresh fruit, the source of natural sweetness, is, without a doubt, health-promoting and is a superb source of calories for the human body. This is why experts and professional dieticians who know what they’re talking about will recommend including plentiful amounts of fresh fruit in your diet.
When to Embrace Sugar in Fruit
One of the most important factors about the sugar in fruit debate is that sugar occurs in whole foods is not an issue; in actual fact, it’s needed and should be wholeheartedly embraced. The problems come about when it’s extracted and used in excess. Then you also find that the foods highest in added sugars are commonly those that are higher in added fats, sodium, refined flours, and animal products. This makes these foods so bad for you in terms of your health for a whole host of reasons and not just because of the added sugars either.
The Effects of Refined Sugar
Food companies have exploited our sweet tooth; something that was originally designed to support our long-term health, to effectively bring detriment to us. The simple sugars from whole fruits have positive results when it comes to supporting human health, but refined, or extracted, sugars definitely do not. By refining sugar, it takes away the water, fibre, and pretty much every other nutrient and element of the food. What you’re left with is sugar… and only sugar – not the entire package it belongs in. To make things worse, these extractions create a more calorie dense product which overstimulates our pleasure senses – we’ve all had a sugar high (and low) after eating too many sweets, right?! And all of this is in an effort from food manufacturers to make products more desirable!
Don’t be Scared of Sugar
It’s definitely worth mentioning that adding small amounts of added sugars, particularly in food made at home, can still be enjoyed without you having to worry about any significant health risks. With most things, moderation is key, so desserts and other foods that have added sugar in them should be eaten only every once in a while and should never be a popular or regular part of your diet if you want to live a healthy life. When used on occasion, a small amount of added sugars will contribute only minimal calories to the overall calorie intake in a day, so you don’t have to be scared of enjoying some now and again.
Hopefully, this helps some of you out there to enjoy what you eat a little more and not put so much pressure on yourself!
Image credit: Michael Stern