The different types of dietary sugars, i.e. sugars in foods and drinks, are as below:
- Monosaccharides, “mono” meaning “one” and “saccharide” meaning “sugar, i.e. these sugars are made up of only one sugar unit/molecule. Includes fructose (e.g. common fruit sugar) and glucose (e.g. commonly added to energy drinks). Also includes galactose, which isn't really found ”free" in foods/drinks.
- Disaccharides, “di” meaning “two”. Comprised of two sugar molecules. Includes sucrose, which is the joining up of glucose and fructose monosaccharide units and is what is commonly known as table sugar; lactose, which is the joining up of glucose and galactose monosaccharides and is the main dairy sugar.
People often think sugar is “evil”, but it is not in all cases. Added sugars, especially glucose (e.g. as a syrup in lollies and energy drinks) and sucrose (e.g. to biscuits and breakfast cereals) are not great, they don't provide much other than calories. Glucose is especially undesirable because it has the highest glycemic index (GI) out of all the sugars. However, most refined starchy foods-have higher GIs than “sugar” and should be watched out for as much as added sugars - find out more here: http://ginews.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/gi-update.html
Fructose and lactose sugar found in fruit and dairy are GOOD sugars - they have low GIs and are associated with great nutrition like micronutrients/protein.
In summary, consume natural sugars that are inherent to a food, e.g. lactose in dairy and fructose in fruit, and avoid added sugars like sucrose and glucose syrup.
In all cases, avoid sugary drinks, like soft drinks and added sugars to coffee AND fruit juice - if you want some fruit eat the whole thing.
P.S. Your body's main internal “sugar” is “glucose” and is vital for life, e.g. your brain likes this as its main fuel, but you want to keep your blood sugar/glucose levels nice and steady by consuming low GI foods.
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