Sweet things to know about sugar

When we digest carbohydrates such as pasta, breads, fruit and vegetables these are broken down by our digestive tract into glucose, sucrose, and lactose which are types of sugars. Sugar is called sucrose which is actually two simpler sugars stuck together: fructose and glucose.

Each subtype of carbohydrate has different effects in the human body depending on its structure and its food source, which affect things like:

  • How quickly and/or easily the carbohydrate molecule is digested and absorbed and we know this as Glycemic Index.

So foods that have a high glycemic index such as white sugar, lollies, white bread and desserts, will impact your sugar level. Fruit and vegetables on the other hand have a low glycemic index because they contain high amounts of fibre which helps to slow down the digestion so it doesn’t have a high impact in your sugar levels. These also provide you with vitamin and minerals that nourish your body.

The amount of carbohydrate that should be consumed depends on body size and activity levels. Bigger and/or more active people need more while smaller and more sedentary people require less.

It is recommended that we eat food with low glycemic index which slowly releases energy in our system. It is better for satiety, blood sugar levels, and body composition. These carbohydrates are found in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.

However, rapid digestion of simpler, higher-glycemic carbohydrates is beneficial during the pre- and post-workout periods. When you need energy FAST!