On a molecular level, the glucose, fructose, and sucrose found in certain processed products has the same molecules as those in fruit or honey.
However, your body uses these very differently. In fact, not all sugar acts the same and you need to know why.
Most carbohydrates are broken down by the body in to glucose which is then used as energy. It is either used as energy or if it is not needed then it is stored away within your muscles and the liver.
If your liver is fully stored then the sugar needs to be stored elsewhere. This is where excess glucose is then converted in to fatty acids and stored as fat in the body.
Refined sugars that are added to your cup of coffee, processed foods, and thrown on top of your cereal is the molecule sucrose. Sucrose is the combination of glucose and fructose.
The sugars found naturally in fruit are fructose hence the name, along with glucose. Sounds the same as refined sugars right?
Well yes the types of sugars found in fruit and refined sugars are the same however their absorption depends on their chemical and plant structures, food processing and food preparation.
The problem with refined sugars are its fast rate of metabolism, lack of healthy nutrients and the fact that it doesn’t make you feel full at all. When refined sugars enter the body it goes straight in to the blood stream causing a spike in your blood sugar levels.
You can blunt or lower this effect by consuming foods with fibre. This is where the sugars found in fruit have the upper hand on refined sugars as fruit contains fibre along with a vast array of vitamins and minerals.
The fibre found in fruits slows down the digestion process, helping prevent an increase in blood sugar levels. Along with this the fibre helps to improve your bowel movements and metabolism. Finally fibre helps improve satiety and reduce overeating whereas eating a sweetened food without fibre might cause the opposite.
Fruit is very beneficial to your overall health when consumed how it is. However when you start to mess with it by stewing, cooking, or juicing, then the benefits decline. More sugar is released at a quicker rate and less fibre is consumed. It is more beneficial for you to consume an orange than it is to consume a glass of orange juice for this reason.
Finally we also need to look at liquid sugar. As you probably know quite well, liquid sugar can be extremely dangerous. One can of coke contains 138 calories and 33g of sugar. This contains no nutritional benefits and can effect your risk of diabetes and weight gain. To get this amount of sugar from blueberries you’d need to eat roughly 210g or 150 berries! You can already see which one is going to fill you up more.
In conclusion you don’t need to worry too much about which type of sugar you are consuming whether it be glucose, fructose, or sucrose. You should concentrate on consuming your sugars through natural sources such as fruit, honey, and starches. When consuming fruit you should consume it in its natural form and avoid cooking or juicing it. The benefits of natural sources of sugar are increases in fibre, slower release of sugars in to the bloodstream, and a great amount of vitamins and minerals found in your fruits.