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THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY ON SUGAR

Talking about sugar, expect that there will be loads of myths, fictions, and some kind of fallacy about sugar. And as we speak about sugar, there are a lot of misconceptions between the natural sugar and the added-sugar which makes our bodies, thus, the rise of concerns continues to clarify the role of sugars including the nature of sugar.


So in this article, we will try cleaning some wrong information based on the information we gathered from researchers and food experts.

First off, what are sugars?

As scientifically defined, Sugars are a type of carbohydrate. They consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules. Carbohydrates play an important part in a healthy diet, as are proteins and of course, fats. For dietary fiber, carbohydrates are consumed, digested, and broken down into glucose, which is used by most of the tissues in our body as energy.


Glucose is a source of energy for red blood cells, the central nervous system, especially the brain. As glucose is composed mainly of Sugars, therefore it is expectedly caloric, usually tastes sweet in which can be found in fruits, vegetables, honey, and dairy milk.


By nature, we humans have the desire for sweet taste. Lactose, for example, is a type of naturally occurring sugar in milk such as breast milk that helps ensure nutrition for infants and is the most nutritious milk. As the research about sugar improves in years, chemically it has been divided accordingly as to monosaccharide or disaccharide carbohydrates, which impart a sweet taste where most food contains all of these.


THE MONOSACCHARIDE

It is a single molecular unit that is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. The most common monosaccharides are glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose, galactose, and mannose.


THE DISACCHARIDE

This is a sugar-containing two monosaccharides linked together which are broken down in the body into two single sugars. The most common disaccharides are:

  • Sucrose (or table sugar) = glucose + fructose

  • Lactose = glucose +galactose

  • Maltose = glucose + glucose

  • Trehalose = glucose + glucose, but the two units of glucose are linked differently than maltose

This research was fully explained by IFT.ORG and they also gave the scientific overview for the above-mentioned carbohydrates.


It was mentioned that sugars also vary in their sweetness intensity, ranging from the relatively low sweetness of lactose to the considerably greater sweetness of fructose, the sweetest of the naturally-occurring sugars.

THE NATURAL OCCURENCE OF SUGAR

Sugars are naturally rich in fruits, vegetables, milk, and honey. For glucose we have it in corn, honey, and fruits; fructose as well are present in almost all fruits; sucrose is found in sugar cane, sugar beets, fruits, and vegetables; lactose occurs only in milk; maltose is found in molasses; trehalose is found in mushrooms, and galactose is found only when food is bound to glucose as lactose.


COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED SUGARS

With the rise of sugar industries around the world, yes, there are sugars that are commercially produced. Table sugar is the famous and the most known example of this. This is also called added-sugar. It is produced from sugar cane and sugar beets; in the forms of brown sugar, molasses, and cane sugar. Corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup, on the other hand, are produced from corn starch. Other known added-sugar include maple syrup, malt syrup, agave syrup, and commercially produced fruit juices.


SO WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ADDED-SUGAR?

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, added sugars are syrups and other caloric sweeteners that are added to foods and beverages to sweeten them. Did you know that even honey is considered an added-sugar? Yes, but for the purpose of labeling, however, added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has developed a more elaborate technical definition. So any company producing food and drinks which uses added-sugar should elaborate the content inside the specific container.


FDA, further identifies that added sugars could be something added during the processing of foods or are packaged. Also, sugars from syrups and honey, or anything from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess from the standard volume from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type.


BUT WHY DO WE NEED TO HAVE ADDED-SUGARS IN OUR FOOD?

Added-sugars are claimed to have provided some important functions in food. One is preservation purposes. They also contribute to color and flavor development. They also increase the volume of a certain product. Lastly, they add texture.


Added-sugar is better known to basically enhance the flavor profile of a certain product. When it comes to frozen goods like ice cream, added-sugar can control freezing point and crystallization or boiling point in candy making. They are also used for microbial fermentation. As a preservative, they are used to prevent the growth of microorganisms, by binding water and making it less available for microbial growth, preventing spoilage.


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE OF THE CALORIES FROM NATURAL SUGAR TO ADDED-SUGAR?

When sugars are metabolized they provide about 4 calories per gram. So there is no difference. They still provide the same amount of calories as other carbohydrates and protein, unless they are dietary fiber. But the natural sugar, as nutritional experts say, is best to be taken by our bodies in comparison to added-sugar which may cause some serious illness if taken in excess.


ADDED-SUGAR RECOMMENDATION INTAKE

Based on sugar studies and research, strong evidence suggests that eating patterns that include excessive intake of added sugars are associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease in adults. The lower intake of it or if taken in moderation, evidence suggested that these eating patterns are associated with reduced risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer in adults. Further, there is a low risk of having dental problems, especially with children.


The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 recommends consumption of less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars. That’s actually very low until you no longer need to add some more for your food. In addition, having a healthy eating diet plan or dietary management plan, helps people limit consumption of added sugars from food to beverages.


For example, as we have been emphasizing in our Richberry recipes, we almost eliminate the use of added-sugar in almost all of our menus from salads and mains, desserts, juices and smoothies, cocktails, and mocktails. Reducing the added-sugar and using Richberry’s miracle berries instead, can help our consumers attain their health and wellness goals. Thus, making them achieve a better life without having to crave more added-sugar. As anything in excess of it can be very fatal to our health.


Eliminating added-sugars with something that can intensify the flavour of the food and beverages as low- or no-calorie options which help in reducing caloric intake, is the very goal of Richberry.


HOW TO LOOK FOR ADDED SUGAR INFORMATION THE LABELS

Nutrition Facts Label. Take note that the phrase “Sugars” listed on the current Nutrition Facts label represents both naturally-occurring and added sugars and shows the amount (in grams) of sugar in one serving of the food.


See the example below:

The Nutrition Facts label is required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on most packaged foods and beverages. The Nutrition Facts label provides detailed information about a food's nutrient content, such as the amount of fat, sugar, sodium, and fiber it has.

FDA requires food manufacturers to list the amount (in grams) of “Added Sugars” (sugar added to the food during food production), in addition to the “Total Sugars” (which includes naturally-occurring and added sugars) in one serving of the food.








This is the old label vs the new label:










Ingredient List:

It shows you some key nutrients that impact your health. You can use the label to support your personal dietary needs – look for foods that contain more of the nutrients you want to get more of and less of the nutrients you may want to limit. Nutrients to get less of Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Added Sugars.


The sugars added to foods and beverages should be clearly enumerated in the ingredient list. This list is usually in descending order based on the amount – which means that the closer they are at the beginning of the list, the higher the amount of that ingredient in the food.


Example of added-sugars includes brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, trehalose, turbinado sugar, anhydrous dextrose, confectioner's powdered sugar, corn syrup solids, maple syrup, nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar), sucrose, sugar, and white granulated sugar. That should be how specific it is.


Front of Pack Label:

Symbols that broadly suggest that a food is "healthy," "good for you," or "a better choice." For example, many food processors have supported one such symbol, known as Smart Choices.


The presence of sugar is usually labeled at the front of the packaging. They can be both natural sugar or added sugar.








Citations:

HHS/USDA. 2015. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020.

FDA. Nutrition labeling of food. 2016.

https://www.ift.org/career-development/learn-about-food-science/food-facts/food-facts-food-ingredients-and-additives/sugars-a-scientific-overview

FDA.GOV


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