How much natural sugar should we eat a day?
We are constantly bombarded by the media saying that sugar is unhealthy and that we should avoid all kinds of sweets. But the craving for sweet is completely natural and normal and our tongue is full of receptors for sweet for a reason. Fresh fruit is a natural, sweet, healthy, and great source of calories. So we suggest that you include fresh fruits more often in your diet, and know that it is okay to even make a whole meal of these natural sweets.
Our sense of sweetness has been given us by nature to attract us to healthy fruits, but food companies have used our natural affinity for sweet to make our products more enticing. Simple fruit sugars are healthy, but refined sugars are not. In the refining process, water, fiber and virtually every other useful nutrient from the fruit are removed. Only sugar remains.
The proportion of calories in refined sugar is higher, and therefore it stimulates us very comfortably. The worst part is that food manufacturers add that sugar to foods that are already unhealthy and full of calories. In any case, almost everyone, including people with diabetes, could benefit from consuming more fruits and vegetables as a result of the combination of vitamins, minerals, fibers, phytochemicals and water it contains. In many cases, sweet fruit can satisfy the craving for other unhealthy sweets, and it has less sugar than most sweetened foods, which can mean that the person will ultimately consume less calories and consume less sugar, while ingesting valuable nutrients into the body.
We know soft drink and candies should be off the table, but how much natural sugar from whole fruit should you have a day? The answer is 2-3 serves of fruit. If we're consuming natural sugars within the healthy eating guidelines -- for example, the two or three serves of fruit per day, five serves of veggies and adequate amounts of low GI carbohydrates, which do have some natural sugar in them -- this is meeting the guidelines of what you're looking for. It's more about looking at added sugars -- we want those added teaspoons in the day to be quite low. While eating more than three serves of fruit isn't inherently unhealthy, it just means there's less room for other important healthy foods like vegetables, nuts, lean protein and legumes. So, rather than freaking out about natural sugars or weighing your fruit, just stick to the guideline of 2-3 pieces of fruit per day and fill your meals with lots of veggies.
At this point you may be asking: do fruit juices and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup count as natural sugars or added sugars? These forms of sugar are what the World Health Organization guidelines refers to as 'free sugars', which are similar to added sugars. Honey is a healthy substitute for sugar, it is also a healthy substitute for "healthy" zero-calorie sweeteners. It is only important that you take care of the portions, and limit the intake of sugar, including that of honey.
When creating your meals, the best way to be is to select the foods you eat based off of what appears in its natural form or the form in which it exists in nature. Protein, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are all options and provide the best means for energizing the body.
Have a look at www.nosugarswiss.ch for more healthy topics.