Sugar is thought to be one of the biggest evils in our modern diets. Added sugars are everywhere, Type 2 diabetes is on the rise, and certain fad diets want us to cut sugar out of our lives—period!
But not all sugar is actually bad sugar—even for diabetics. That’s because our body processes natural sugars differently than artificial sugar, and cutting out nutritious foods that contain natural sugar could be a detriment to your diet rather than a benefit. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re considering how much sugar is right for you.
Tips When Consuming Sugar
Sugar is important for energy. When you have the right amount of sugar in your system, your body uses the glucose for energy, which will help you maintain proper brain and bodily function.
Refined sugars spike your blood sugar. Your body processes refined sugars more quickly than natural sugar, which leads to a spike in your blood sugar followed by a crash. These spikes and crashes are the most common complaint among those who eat too much sugar, because they lead to low overall energy and sluggishness. They are also very dangerous to anyone with diabetes, who needs to maintain steady control over their blood sugar.
Natural sugars, on the other hand, release energy slowly and consistently. Focusing on consuming the right amounts of fiber and nutrient-dense carbohydrates from whole foods can help stabilize blood sugar levels, which can help keep your diabetes in check.
Once sugar reaches the small intestine, your body treats it all equally. While your body processes refined sugars more quickly than natural sugars, once it hits the small intestine it doesn’t matter what kind of sugar you consumed. If there is too much sugar in your system, it will turn it into fat. If there is an appropriate amount of sugar, it will use it for energy.
While the “right” amount of sugar can’t be narrowed down into a definitive number for every individual, the American Heart Association has released guidelines saying that men should not consume more than 38g of sugar per day, and women should not consume more than 25g per day. These guidelines are especially directed toward refined sugars.
At Ready to Thrive!, our smoothies are diabetic-friendly (though always talk to your doctor about your specific dietary needs!) and a great way to balance your sugar intake from a nutrient-dense source. Our newest flavor Rejuvenate is a favorite of ours for this reason, with only 6g of sugar per serving and a whole host of nutrients to offer!