Part 1 of Carbohydrates Series: SUGARS

In our previous post, we touched on the 3 types of carbs – sugars, starches, and fibre.

Sugars are simple molecules that burn easily and rapidly to provide fuel.

Simple carbs contain just 1 or 2 sugar molecules.

There are essentially 3 basic single-molecule sugars:

Glucose (G)

Fructose (F)

Galactose (GA)

Then there are several double-molecule sugars:

Maltose (G.G = 2 glucoses joined)

Sucrose (F.G = a fructose and a glucose)

Lactose (GA.G = a galactose and a glucose)

So with this sugar letter alphabet in mind, what do we find in our usual carb foods?

  • Fruit is mostly 50/50 fructose and glucose
  • Honey is a mix of fructose and glucose and so is then quite similar to most fruits
  • Maple syrup, cane sugar, beet sugar are all sucrose-based

In nature, these sugars come packaged as whole foods that come with nutrients and fibre, for example fruit, honey and milk. Sugars in this natural form are perfectly healthy and are part of a healthy balanced diet – so when you hear the term “natural sugars” just think of this.

However, when foods are highly refined/processed, then the nutrients and fibre are progressively removed until only the pure sugars remain. At this point they become PURE FUEL and contain NO nutrients or fibre. It is for this reason that they are also called “empty calories”. When overdone, these processed sugars contribute to a range of health issues that are becoming more and more prevalent in modern societies.