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What is Refined Sugar?

By Sara Butler

Sugar is something you cannot avoid in a balanced diet simply because it comes in so many forms. But you can limit how much refined sugar you eat each day. The trouble is identifying what counts as refined sugar and what doesn't. Here's what you need to know about sugar in your diet and how to separate the good from the bad when it comes to the sweet stuff.

Why Sugar is Bad for You

A diet high in sugar can lead to many health problems. Chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease as well as certain cancers have been linked to diets high in sugar. This is precisely why the American Heart Association recommends a certain amount of sugar in the diet each day. They advise that men get no more than 36 grams of sugar per day while women keep it to about 25 grams per day.

Natural Sugars

Natural sugars are the type found in foods naturally, such as fructose in fruit or lactose in dairy products. The natural sugar found in whole foods naturally also comes with a dose of fiber, protein, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that make them OK to add to your diet in moderation since they come with so many other benefits.

Refined Sugar

Refined sugar is sugar that has been changed from its natural form. Sugar made from sugar beets, corn, or sugar cane are great examples of refined sugar. You see these in the store most often sold in pre-packaged items and identified as table sugar, evaporated cane juice, high-fructose corn syrup, and brown sugar.

You may be surprised by the kinds of foods that contain refined sugar. Yes, you expect to find them in foods such as soda pop, fruit juice, and desserts, but they can also be found in foods such as bread, spaghetti sauce, and condiments. When added to foods, refined sugar doesn't have any real nutritional value, as they don't add fiber, minerals, or vitamins to the foods your eating. Refined sugar also digests rapidly and can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar.

It's important to be an informed consumer when it comes to your health. Make sure to look at the ingredients of the foods you buy and try to avoid refined, as well as added, sugar. Focus instead on lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.

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

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