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Sugars: the good and the bad

There is a tendency for people to be wary of carbohydrates in one's diet. But carbohydrates aren't the enemy, depending on what KIND of carbohydrate we are talking about! Some equate the word with starchy, refined foods like white bread. Yet, carbohydrate-rich food are great additions to our diets, as they provide energy for muscles, nerves and other body tissues to use. Carbohydrates = sugars (naturally occuring and refined) + starches + fibre.

NATURAL SUGARS, such as those occurring in sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, winter squash, parsnips and peas, are good for you because they also provide fibre, nutrients and antiaxidants. You want to avoid ADDED SUGARS, which are refined sugars that go by names which include sucrose, glucose, dextrose, liquid sugar, honey, fructose, and high-fructose corn syrup. Consuming too much sugar can cause weight gain from excess calories, as well as raise blood triglycerides which are linked to heart disease. How much sugar is too much? Current recommendations are to limit added sugars to less than 100 calories per day for women (25 grams/6 teaspoons' worth) and 150 calories for men (37 grams or 9 teaspoons' worth). 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon!


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