Downsides, Meals Sources, and How one can Keep away from It

Within the final decade, intense focus has been positioned on sugar and its detrimental well being results.

Refined sugar consumption is linked to circumstances like weight problems, sort 2 diabetes, and coronary heart illness. But, it’s present in quite a lot of meals, making it notably difficult to keep away from.

Furthermore, you could marvel how refined sugars evaluate to pure ones, and whether or not they have related well being results.

This text discusses what refined sugar is, the way it differs from pure sugar, and the right way to decrease your consumption.

Sugar is of course discovered in lots of meals, together with fruits, greens, dairy, grains, and even nuts and seeds.

This pure sugar could be extracted to supply the refined sugar presently so considerable within the meals provide. Desk sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are two widespread examples of refined sugars created this fashion.

Desk sugar

Desk sugar, also referred to as sucrose, is usually extracted from sugar cane vegetation or sugar beets.

The sugar manufacturing course of begins with washing the sugar cane or beets, slicing them, and soaking them in scorching water, which permits their sugary juice to be extracted.

The juice is then filtered and become a syrup that’s additional processed into sugar crystals which might be washed, dried, cooled, and packaged into the desk sugar discovered on grocery store cabinets (1).

Excessive-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

Excessive-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a sort of refined sugar. The corn is first milled to make corn starch after which additional processed to create corn syrup (1).

Enzymes are then added, which will increase the content material of the sugar fructose, in the end making the corn syrup style sweeter.

The most typical sort is HFCS 55, which incorporates 55% fructose and 42% glucose — one other sort of sugar. This share of fructose is just like that of desk sugar (2).

These refined sugars are sometimes used so as to add taste to meals however also can act as a preservative in jams and jellies or assist meals like pickles and breads ferment. They’re additionally usually used so as to add bulk to processed meals like comfortable drinks and ice cream.


Refined sugar is made by extracting and processing the sugar naturally present in meals like corn, sugar beets, and sugar cane. This refined sugar is then added to meals for numerous functions, together with to spice up taste.

Sugars like desk sugar and HFCS are added to varied meals, together with many who you wouldn’t suspect comprise sugar. Thus, they could sneak into your weight loss plan, selling a spread of detrimental well being results.

As an example, consuming giant quantities of refined sugar, particularly within the type of sugary drinks, has persistently been linked to weight problems and extra stomach fats, a danger issue for circumstances like diabetes and coronary heart illness (3, 4, 5).

Particularly, meals enriched with HFCS might trigger you to change into proof against leptin, a hormone that alerts your physique when to eat and when to cease. This will partly clarify the hyperlink between refined sugar and weight problems (6).

Many research additionally affiliate diets excessive in added sugars with elevated coronary heart illness danger (7).

Moreover, diets wealthy in refined sugar are generally linked to a better danger of sort 2 diabetes, despair, dementia, liver illness, and sure sorts of most cancers (8, 9, 10, 11).


Refined sugars might enhance your danger of weight problems, sort 2 diabetes, and coronary heart illness. They’re additionally linked to a better probability of despair, dementia, liver illness, and sure sorts of most cancers.

For a number of causes, refined sugars are typically worse in your well being than pure sugars.

Meals wealthy in refined sugars are sometimes closely processed

Refined sugars are sometimes added to meals and drinks to enhance style. They’re thought of empty energy as a result of they comprise nearly no nutritional vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, fiber, or different useful compounds.

Furthermore, refined sugars are generally added to packaged meals and drinks, reminiscent of ice cream, pastries, and soda, all of which are typically closely processed.

Along with being low in vitamins, these processed meals could be wealthy in salt and added fat, each of which may hurt your well being when consumed in excessive quantities (12, 13, 14).

Pure sugars are normally present in nutrient-rich meals

Sugar is of course discovered in lots of meals. Two fashionable examples embrace lactose in dairy and fructose in fruit.

From a chemistry perspective, your physique breaks down pure and refined sugars into similar molecules, processing each equally (15).

Nonetheless, pure sugars sometimes happen in meals that present different useful vitamins.

As an example, in contrast to the fructose in HFCS, the fructose in fruit comes with fiber and quite a lot of nutritional vitamins, minerals, and different useful compounds.

The fiber helps gradual how rapidly the sugar enters your bloodstream, decreasing your probability of blood sugar spikes (16, 17).

Equally, lactose in dairy is of course packaged with protein and ranging ranges of fats, two vitamins additionally identified to assist stop blood sugar spikes (18, 19, 20).

Furthermore, nutrient-rich meals doubtless make a better contribution towards your day by day nutrient wants than meals wealthy in refined sugars.


Pure sugars are inclined to happen in meals wealthy in fiber, protein, and different health-promoting vitamins and compounds, making them extra useful than refined sugars.

Although pure sugars are typically thought of extra useful than refined sugars, this doesn’t maintain true in all circumstances.

Pure sugars may also be processed in a method that removes nearly all of their fiber and portion of their different vitamins. Smoothies and juices are good examples of this.

Of their entire type, fruits supply chewing resistance and are loaded with water and fiber.

Mixing or juicing them breaks down or removes nearly all of their fiber, in addition to any chewing resistance, which means you doubtless require a bigger portion to really feel glad (21, 22).

Mixing or juicing additionally removes among the nutritional vitamins and useful plant compounds naturally present in entire fruits (21, 23).

Different fashionable types of pure sugars embrace honey and maple syrup. These seem to supply extra advantages and barely extra vitamins than refined sugars.

Nonetheless, they continue to be low in fiber and wealthy in sugar and must be consumed solely carefully (24, 25, 26, 27).


Pure sugars present in smoothies and juices gained’t be as useful as these present in entire meals. Maple syrup and honey are sometimes considered as sources of pure sugars however ought to solely be consumed carefully.

Refined sugars are added to many packaged meals. Due to this fact, checking meals labels could be instrumental in decreasing the quantity of refined sugar in your weight loss plan.

A big selection of names can be utilized to label added sugar. The most typical are high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, cane juice, rice syrup, molasses, caramel, and most substances ending in -ose, reminiscent of glucose, maltose, or dextrose.

Listed here are some classes of meals that usually harbor refined sugars:

  • Drinks: comfortable drinks, sports activities drinks, specialty espresso drinks, vitality drinks, Vitaminwater, some fruit drinks, and many others.
  • Breakfast meals: store-bought muesli, granola, breakfast cereals, cereal bars, and many others.
  • Sweets and baked items: chocolate bars, sweet, pie, ice cream, croissants, some breads, baked items, and many others.
  • Canned items: baked beans, canned greens and fruit, and many others.
  • Bread toppings: fruit purées, jams, nut butters, spreads, and many others.
  • Eating regimen meals: low-fat yogurts, low-fat peanut butter, low-fat sauces, and many others.
  • Sauces: ketchup, salad dressings, pasta sauces, and many others.
  • Prepared-made meals: pizza, frozen meals, mac and cheese, and many others.

Consuming fewer of those processed meals and choosing entire, minimally processed ones as an alternative will assist scale back the quantity of refined sugars in your weight loss plan.

You possibly can additional decrease your consumption by decreasing your use of sweeteners like desk sugar, agave syrup, brown sugar, rice syrup, and coconut sugar.


Refined sugars are added to many processed meals. Checking meals labels and decreasing your consumption of those meals will assist restrict the quantity of refined sugars in your weight loss plan.

Refined sugar is obtained by extracting pure sugar from meals like sugar cane, sugar beets, or corn. It’s typically added to nutrient-poor, processed meals, which may hurt your well being when eaten in giant portions.

In distinction, pure sugars are sometimes present in entire meals. These are naturally wealthy in protein or fiber, two vitamins that assist your physique course of these sugars in a more healthy method.

They’re additionally sometimes wealthy in nutritional vitamins, minerals, and useful plant compounds.

That stated, not all pure sugars are created equal, and people present in juices, smoothies, and pure sweeteners like honey and maple syrup must be consumed carefully.

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