In chemistry, the sugar molecule is made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
It is called a “carbohydrate” or “carbohydrate”. The main role of carbohydrates is to provide the body with the energy it needs to function. In other words, carbohydrates are the fuel for our cells. It is thanks to glucose (a molecule derived from carbohydrate) that an athlete’s muscles find the strength to contract and relax. It is also by its power that your thumb presses the buttons on the remote control.
Glucose is also essential for the biggest consumer of organic energy: the brain. It represents only 2% of your body weight but uses 65% of the body’s glucose. And the more you rack your brains, the more fuel you will need. Carbohydrates also have a beneficial effect on memory and mood.
Although they bring pleasure to the palate, unnatural sugars are considered the number one public enemy of our diet. They don’t have a good reputation and the list of their harmful effects on our health keeps getting longer and longer: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, soda sickness…
They are mainly:
White sugar: this sugar is the one most used in everyday life. It is obtained from crushed sugar beet, reduced to powder and then purified. The result is refined sugar containing 99% sucrose. It passes quickly into the bloodstream, causing a peak in blood sugar levels quite easily. Its GI is about 70. Its sweetness remains unchanged even if it is cooked and mixed with other ingredients. It also has a strong additive power, hence the importance of consuming it in moderation (10 to 20g/day).
Brown sugar: Brown sugar is made by grinding and refining sugar cane but it is less purified than white sugar. That is why it has some traces of calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Its brown color comes from a thin layer of molasses it contains. It is considered a good sugar with a slightly lower glycemic index (65) than white sugar but beware, many are counterfeit in the trade (colored white sugar). A daily consumption limited to 20 g is sufficient.
The concentration of glucose in the blood is called blood sugar. On an empty stomach, normal blood glucose values are between 0.6 g/l and 1 g/l. This level rises substantially for one to two hours after a meal, not exceeding 1.6 g/l, and then should return to normal values logically within two hours before the meal. The rate of energy conversion of blood sugar determines its glycemic index.
It is this element that is taken into account in determining the best sugar for health. As a general rule, the best sugars for health are of natural origin. They may not always have the place they deserve in our eating habits, but they have many advantages, such as the ability to sweeten and flavor food. They are :
Stevia is a sugar of plant origin. Indeed, it comes from the leaves of a shrub that grows in South America. Stevia has a sweetening power of about 300 times greater than that of conventional sugar. However, it is non-caloric and has practically no impact on blood sugar levels, its GI is 0, which makes it safe for diabetics. Its pleasant fragrance is very suitable for infusions and fruit in syrup. On the other hand, it is not recommended for cooking. Stevia would even be beneficial to health. It would help, for example, to lower blood pressure.
Xylitol is a natural sugar extracted from birch bark. This sugar alcohol has the advantage of being a very healthy substance under its appearance of refined powdered sugar. Its low glycemic rate is well tolerated by diabetics. Rich in mineral salts and trace elements, it helps to remineralize teeth affected by caries or to prevent their appearance. Be careful, however, not to consume too much as it can cause digestion problems.
This sugar alcohol substitute is made from corn or wheat starch. It tastes like sugar. It has a low glycemic index, but it can cause stomach upset in some people. It is, therefore, preferable to use it in moderation. This sugar is a good alternative for people who are overweight or have diabetes.
4- Yacon syrup
Little known to the general public, Yacon syrup is extracted from a juicy and sweet Peruvian tuber. It is composed of fructose and oligosaccharide. It is an interesting source of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. With a slightly malty taste, this syrup is very pleasant to eat cold and does not cause insulin peaks. A study revealed that Yacon syrup would be beneficial in weight loss. Yacon syrup contains about 190 Kcal per 100 gr while sugar contains about 400 Kcal, twice as much.
The natural sugar par excellence is honey, known for its incomparable virtues. Rich in fructose, glucose, proteins, trace elements, mineral salts, and vitamins B, C, D, K, it has an excellent sweetening power beneficial to the intestinal flora. It is also composed of a multitude of amino acids essential to your metabolism, but be careful not to heat it to enjoy all its healthy properties.
5- Coconut sugar
Coconut sugar is the favorite of cooks because it is rich in minerals and is very suitable for cooking. With a caramelized taste and a glycemic index of 35, it is good sugar and a better alternative in dessert recipes and other culinary preparations. However, it contains almost as many calories as normal sugar.
6- Maple Syrup
This syrup is collected from the sap of the maple tree brought to a boil. Its remarkable sweetening power in any preparation is superior to that of white sugar. However, it should be consumed in moderation by diabetics. Maple syrup is a sugar-rich in proteins, calcium, potassium, manganese, and zinc. Its glycemic index is 60.