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Truth about natural sugar unveiled

Chocolates, ice creams and mithais. Be it Diwali or getting over a break-up, they have been our companion during celebrations and comforter in times of sorrow. Sure it's delicious, but does natural sugar love us back? Shikha Sharma finds out.

brunch Updated: Sep 28, 2014 12:32 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times

Sure it’s delicious, but does natural sugar love us back? Find out here

It tastes sooo good. For many people, sugar is irresistible. But do you know what it actually is? Here’s a primer on common sugars.

Glucose:A simple sugar that acts as fuel for the body.
Sweet truth: Patients are often given glucose, but consuming it every day may make you overweight because it converts to fat very fast.

Lactose: A combination of glucose and galactose found in dairy products.
Sweet truth: Many adults can’t digest lactose. If you’re one of them, get your calcium from ragi flour and sesame seeds.

Maltose: Obtained when grains are softened in water and germinated.
Sweet truth: Homemade malt drinks taste better with jaggery.

Sucrose: A combination of glucose and fructose found in cane sugar. It sweetens juices.
Sweet truth: Can be fattening in large doses. Found in milk, it’s a simple sugar.

Sweet truth: Babies can digest it easily.

Xylose: Found in plants, dates and coconut.
Sweet truth: Sweetens juices. Don’t consume too much.

Fructose: Found in fruit and honey, it helps weak livers.
Sweet truth: Consumed as whole fruit, fructose is fine. As refined table sugar, it triggers insulin imbalances.

Corn syrup: Made from genetically modified corn.
Sweet truth: Avoid. It causes obesity and dental caries.

White sugar: Processed sucrose.
Sweet truth: The bleaching agents are harmful.

Fine refined sugar: Used in baking and mixing with drinks.
Sweet truth: Absorbed into the blood very rapidly, upsetting insulin balance.

Brown sugar: Flavoured, coloured white sugar.
Sweet truth: As unhealthy as white sugar.

Gur (jaggery): Concentrated date or cane juice or palm sap.
Sweet truth: Does not disrupt the insulin balance much.

(To be continued)

This is part one of a two-part series.

From HT Brunch, September 28

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First Published: Sep 27, 2014 12:00 IST