With Febfast 2022 just around the corner, and many participants across Australia planning to cut back on their sugar intake for the month, you might be wondering what the different types of sugar and their effects are or what sugar even is.
First things first: Sugar is a form of carbohydrate containing carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose once consumed and digested, which is how they provide energy for your body. The chemical structure of carbohydrates determines how quickly they are digested and categorise carbohydrates into two primary groups. Carbohydrates composed of one sugar molecule (monosaccharides) or two sugar molecules (disaccharides) are known as simple carbohydrates, while carbohydrates formed from three or more sugar molecules are known as complex carbohydrates.
The two major monosaccharides are:
- Fructose (or fruit sugar)
The two major disaccharides are:
- Sucrose (or table sugar)
- Lactose (or dairy sugar)
These simple sugars can then be broken down into natural sugars and added sugars.
Natural sugars are pretty self-explanatory—they occur naturally in foods like fruit, certain vegetables and dairy products that provide additional health benefits. Essentially, the sugar is already there in your food. Because these sugars are combined with nutrients and fibre, they help keep your blood sugar levels stable by slowing down the release of sugar into your bloodstream. So long as they are consumed in moderation, natural sugars can be good for your health.
On the other hand, added sugars are created and added to food during the manufacturing process. They are commonly found in lollies, cookies, soft drinks and other sugary snacks. These sugars are energy-dense but low in nutrients. When consumed in excess can cause higher blood pressure, inflammation, diabetes, weight gain, and fatty liver disease.
The bottom line is that if you’re looking to call time-out on sugar this Febfast, it’s worth cutting out sources of added sugar as opposed to natural sugar for a happier, healthier lifestyle.
Worried sugar has affected your liver? Here at MVSC, we can scan your liver using the revolutionary FibroScan® 502 Touch technology. It’s safe, painless and gives you peace of mind knowing your liver is performing all its functions.