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The More You Know: Natural Sugar

By Sara Butler

There are two kinds of sugars out there for you to eat: added sugar and natural sugar. You definitely want to limit the added sugars in your diet since those are often linked with a higher risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. So, what about natural sugars? Here's what you need to know about natural sugars -- if they should be limited and the best places to find them.

What is Natural Sugar?

Natural sugars are the sugars found naturally in foods. Things such as milk and fruit have naturally occurring sugars. While natural sugars by themselves will cause your blood sugar to spike in the same way that added sugars will, natural sugars usually have a big advantage -- fiber.

For example, when you eat a piece of fruit such as a pear or apple, the fiber in the fruit helps to slow the impact of the sugar in your bloodstream. Soda, on the other hand, has nothing but added sugar in it to help temper the impact on your blood sugar, which causes a sharp spike and fast crash.

There are some foods that have both kinds of sugar in them, such as chocolate milk or fruit-flavored yogurt. That's why you must read the nutrition labels to see how much added sugar are in products such as these so you can decide if they're right for you.

Where to Find Natural Sugar

When you're trying to choose the right sources of sugar in your diet, make an effort to focus on natural sugars such as lactose and fructose, avoiding foods with high fructose corn syrup and sucrose.

Some great food choices with naturally occurring sugars include:

  • Dairy products - Greek yogurt and milk both have natural sugars. Opt for unsweetened versions and add your own fruit to sweeten it if that's how you best enjoy it.
  • Fruit - The fructose in fruits combines with fiber, vitamins, and minerals make them a good choice for a snack or as part of a balanced meal.
  • Root vegetables and some other vegetables - Beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, yams, and potatoes all have naturally occurring sugar in them, but they also have a lot of other nutritional value than foods with added sugars.

It's also a good idea to avoid processed foods since they're usually full of added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Columbus, Ohio.

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