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Sugar Question

RhinoRhino TheRhinLOLRegistered User regular
edited October 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Most any health/diet book you pick up these days will proclaim the evils of sugars and some even go as far as redefined starches. Anyways, the almost never mention fruit as being "evil" for being loaded as sugar, in fact some (most) of them even suggest a good amount of fruits in one's diet.

This one book I was reading at the library went on for a chapter about how you should never touch sugar. Then at the end they suggested "Have a sweet tooth? Try a bowl of pineapple or nice glass of orange juice to calm those cravings!"


I really don't understand the differences. 29 grams of sugar, is pretty much 29 grams of sugar, right? It should be pretty much the same, regardless if it's in a 8 ounce glass of orange juice or in 4oz of soda. Right? I don't see the difference.

Fruit has vitamin and minerals, sure. But why does it get a "free pass" from the sugar sugar police? It'll spike your insulin all the same.

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Posts

  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    The sugar in fruit is fructose, which is broken down much more slowly by your body, so doesn't actually cause as much of a spike.

    Beyond that, I think sugar is pretty much sugar. The main reason it's recommended over other things is because of the added vitamins and minerals fruit has, as well as the fact that it's usually a larger portion of fruit for an equal amount of sugar from a smaller and less filling processed food item.

    Edit: Quick clarification. Fruits usually contain both fructose and glucose (and their combined sucrose form) but tend to have a higher fructose content than a lot of processed foods would.

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  • ChanusChanus Harbinger of the Spicy Rooster Apocalypse The Flames of a Thousand Collapsed StarsRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Refined and complex sugars (like high-fructose corn syrup) are the ones you want to avoid.

    Avoiding sugar altogether is not necessary... everything is fine in moderation.

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  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    You have to be careful with juice because a lot of "juices" out there have added sugar.

    But the fiber in actual fruit helps your digestiive tract process it more slowly so you feel full longer and your blood sugar won't spike like it would if you ate candy. The other thing is that fruit isn't pure sugar so 1 cup of fruit has less sugar than a cup of candy.

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  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    If we're going by how "good" a sugar is, Glucose is probably the most "healthy". It's the kind of sugar usually referred to when someone talks about your "blood sugar". Sucrose is a mix of glucose and fructose, and what most people call "sugar". Fructose on its own is actually the worst kind of sugar. Your body metabolizes it differently from glucose and sucrose. It doesn't trigger the same insulin and "full feeling" response when you eat it, so you end up eating more.

    That said, everything in moderation. There's no reason to completely cut out sugars from your diet, it's a major energy source. Staying away from HFCS as much as you can is always a good choice though.

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  • shadydentistshadydentist Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Sugar is bad because its empty calories. Fruit is good because in addition to the sugar, you get lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.

    If we're going to talk health effects, high-fructose corn syrup isn't really all that much worse for you than table sugar. You really should limit your consumption of both.

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  • RhinoRhino TheRhinLOL Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Yea, I always check our juices and fruits. It's hard to find any these days without added sugar or what not (well, besides fresh ones; you know what I mean).

    I don't know why they have to cover peaches in "heavy syrup" or put extra sugar in juices, both are already sweet enough.

    Even without added sugar, some of that stuff is still like 29 grams of sugar per serving.

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Most diet books will point out the evils of sugar and starches because it's a common way to eat a ton of calories without feeling full. Sort of like if your dinner was a loaf of bread -- you'd probably eat the whole thing and be hungry an hour later, despite having consumed like 1000 calories.

    The fruit juice thing is pretty stupid, but eating a fruit is definitely better because a single fruit is typically relatively low calorie -- a small peach or a kiwi is around 40 calories, for example, yet is sweet. A "medium" apple, which is like 3" in diameter, is around 100 calories. Compare that to, well, a lot of other foods, and you can see how having an apple ends up being more filling and still tasty and sweet.

    Ultimately sugar is sugar -- the differences in consuming glucose, fructose, lactose, etc, is not going to be significant to affect a diet. If you were running 100 meter sprints against Usain Bolt, you might care more about it, but you're not. It all gets turned into calories and the # of calories is far more important in a diet than the grams of sugar. Most any calorie restricted diet won't even have space to allow for sugar highs, as including sugary foods means you won't have calories available for a normal meal anyway.

    The guy who created the "south beach" diet eliminates all sweet and carby things for the first two weeks so you (and your body) stop craving them, and you get used to non-sugary foods for a little while. By the end of that diet it's all about moderation -- having bread is fine as long as your portion is reasonable. That's part of the real point about getting in the habit of counting calories -- it sucks to get started, but after a while it's trivial to see a food and think "oh, that's this and that, and I know it has probably about xxx calories, so I'm fine eating it... or I should watch out for it and have a small portion."

    You are already on the right track, though, as your point about canned fruit is spot on. I get pears in light pear juice because, hello, pears taste good already and don't need to be sweeter. Now, a lot of people have really raging sweet tooths -- my wife for example -- but putting fruits in heavy syrup isn't the way to cure that. The cure is to allocate a reasonable portion towards a dessert, and having desserts on hand that are single serving at reasonable calories. You can find 100 calorie ice cream cones at most any grocery store, and that's going to satiate a sweet tooth far better than sweetening an element of a meal.

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  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I found this video really, really interesting.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

    desperaterobots on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Okay, what they're advocating against is "sugar," not "sugars."

    Sugar is the stuff you get from sugar cane or sugar beets. It is full of simple sugars, that are very quickly broken down by your body, usually into fats. They're terrible for you; they slow down your metabolism, and don't fill you up.

    Fruits also have sugars, but those sugars are more complex than the sugars found in sugar. Those sugars are digested slowly by your body, and are more likely to be converted into energy rather than stored as fat. They fill you up, and help your metabolism.

    You're just confused by the fact that the two words are homophones, and incredibly confusing.

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  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Sugar is the stuff you get from sugar cane or sugar beets. It is full of simple sugars, that are very quickly broken down by your body, usually into fats. They're terrible for you; they slow down your metabolism, and don't fill you up.

    Fruits also have sugars, but those sugars are more complex than the sugars found in sugar. Those sugars are digested slowly by your body, and are more likely to be converted into energy rather than stored as fat. They fill you up, and help your metabolism.

    It's actually the opposite. Sugar from sugar cane or beets (the sugar you buy in the store) is actually more complex. It's sucrose, which is a combined molecule consisting of glucose and fructose which gets broken down into the separate sugars shortly after consumption. Fruits contain more simple sugars (solitary fructose and glucose) in addition to sucrose.

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