Q:

Why do we need sugar in our diet?

A:

Quick Answer

Healthy sugars found in whole foods such as fruits and vegetables are vital to the body because they are more easily broken down into fuel than fats and proteins, according to Ann Jamerson for SF Gate. They provide fast energy, and most foods with naturally occurring sugars also contain several essential vitamins and minerals.

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Full Answer

It is important for people to obtain all or the majority of their sugar from whole food sources rather than processed foods and desserts that contain added simple sugars such as syrup, table sugar and honey, explains Jamerson. These sources digest very quickly and enter the bloodstream at an alarming rate, causing blood sugar and insulin levels to spike. This activity subsequently leads to a blood sugar crash, leaving a person to feel hungry again and crave more sugar to pull out of a slump.

When people fall into this cycle, they run the risk of damaging their vital organs and developing serious health complications, such as obesity and diabetes. The best sugar sources are found in complex carbohydrates, which digest much slower in the body and provide lasting energy. Examples include whole grains and starchy vegetables. According to the American Heart Association, women should not eat more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily, and men should stay below 9 teaspoons, reports Jamerson.

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