03 Sep 2023

By: Utsa Ganguly | Updated at : 02 Sep 2023 12:02 PM (IST)

Effect of sugar in our body ( Image Source : Getty )
Sugar has been a cornerstone of human diets for centuries, adding sweetness and flavour to a wide array of foods and beverages. However, in the modern era, the effects of sweeteners on human health have come under scrutiny. There are different forms of sugar which include simple sugars known as monosaccharides like glucose, fructose, and galactose which are naturally found in our food such as fruits, plants, honey etc. But the table sugar, known as sucrose, contains a combination of fructose and glucose which are disaccharides. Lactose is a sugar present in milk which is also a combination of glucose and galactose. 
Let’s know in detail about the different categories of sugar.
Dr G Sushma, who is a Consultant and Clinical Dietician at CARE Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad shared the different categories of sugar which are monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides:
Monosaccharides: These are the simplest form of sugars, consisting of single sugar molecules. Examples include:

Disaccharides: These are composed of two monosaccharide molecules linked together. Examples include:
Polysaccharides: These are complex carbohydrates made up of multiple monosaccharide units linked together. They are often used for energy storage and structural support. Examples include:
In this regard, Dr Edwin Raj who is the Head of Services and Clinic Nutrition & Dietetics at Aster CMI Hospital said, “Sugar comes in different forms, colour and name which are all similar to each other and yields around 16-20kcal of every teaspoon, be it granulated sugar, powdered sugar, less refined brown sugar, unrefined jaggery, molasses, palm sugar, liquid sugar, high fructose corn syrup, agave sugar, etc. An average consumption of sugar is around 24 teaspoons in a day, according to the National Cancer Institute. That’s equivalent to 384 calories.”
Calling it the “new tobacco” he said, “Sugar is a new tobacco as it is addictive and vegetarian cholesterol since it increases your triglyceride levels in blood.”
Dr Rajeshwari Panda, who is the HOD of Nutrition and Dietetics Department at Medicover Hospitals, Navi Mumbai listed down the effects of Brown Sugar, White Sugar, Stevia, Honey and Jaggery on health:
Brown sugar, often praised for its molasses content, is perceived by some as a healthier alternative to white sugar. The presence of molasses imparts a richer flavor and a faint caramel hue.
Effect on Health:
White sugar, also known as granulated sugar, is a refined form of sucrose commonly found in processed foods and sweetened beverages.
Effect on Health:
Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It is known for its intense sweetness without contributing calories.
Effect on Health:
Honey is a natural sweetener produced by bees from flower nectar. It boasts distinct flavors and potential health benefits.
Effect on Health:
Jaggery is a traditional unrefined sweetener made from sugarcane or date palm sap. It is commonly used in various cuisines around the world.
Effect on Health:
“Regardless of the choice, moderation remains the key to maintaining a healthy diet and minimizing the potential negative effects of sweeteners on human health,” she went on to add.
Dr G Sushma shared the effect of sugar on our body:

Dr Edwin Raj further went on to list down the effect of sugar on our brain:
Dr G Sushma said, “It’s recommended to limit the intake of added sugars in the diet. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that added sugars should account for less than 10% of total daily calorie intake, and even lower (below 5%) for additional health benefits.”
Understanding the different types of sugars and their effects can help you make informed choices about your diet and promote better overall health. It’s important to be mindful of your sugar intake and opt for healthier sources of carbohydrates when possible.
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