The sugar maze

Years ago, when I was still a cute preschooler, my parents used to give me and my brother fruit juices for lunch. These drinks were still considered healthy back then. What could possibly be wrong with natural juice made out of fruits? Until, years later, nutrition experts found out how much sugar these beverages contain, and fruit juices were quickly moved to the ´blacklist’ with all the other sugary products.

Sugar seems to be everywhere nowadays, and with all the different names (up to 65!) that are out there, manufacturers have become masterminds at hiding added sweeteners on food labels.

Avoiding sugar has become hard, making it is useful to know the differences between types of sugars. Is there one that is better for you? Or are they all the same?

When it comes to all the -ose’s (fructose, lactose, sucrose, etc.), just remember that natural sugars, like fructose in fruit, are always better to implement in your diet than added sugars, like sucrose in fruit drinks.

The argument over brown and white sugar seems to be more popular. Everyone knows at least one of those down to earth, nature loving characters that will point out that white sugar is often more “processed”, making it’s brown counterpart the healthier option.

But in fact, the differences are so small that it does not really matter what choice you make. Brown sugar has more minerals than white sugar, but the amount is so trivial that you’ll probably suffer from other health consequences before it makes a difference. If it’s calories you’re worried about, brown sugar has 17 and white sugar has 16 per teaspoon.

So unfortunately, the feeling as if you just made a justified, healthy choice while buying the more ‘naturally’ looking brown sugar, is just an illusion.

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Eva Manrique

Eva is a Dutch tourism student currently living in Spain. Her multicultural background contributed to her interest in travel, culture and languages.

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