Sugar is found naturally in various foods, but it is also used as a sweetener in the form of sucrose and fructose. Even though it can make eating a more enjoyable experience, the overconsumption of sugar can lead to serious health risks.
Sucrose is the scientific name for basic table sugar. It is found in fruits and vegetables, but for its most common use as a sweetener, it comes from sugarcane and sugar beets. It is most commonly used as a food sweetener but it also has additional properties such as food preservation and is an important ingredient in sweets. It can also serve as a quick source of energy, though it is not a source of good nutrition.
There are no serious health risks to healthy individuals who eat sucrose in small amounts. Besides making food taste better, sucrose has been shown to work as an analgesic in infants. In a study done by Julie Mennella, PhD, measurements of sweetness preferences were taken among children. After testing, it was discovered that children who had a higher sweet preference and were given sucrose have a lessened reaction to pain than those who were not given sucrose.
Sucrose has been linked to several negative health effects. Eating too much sugar can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Sucrose is also very high in calories. If large amounts of sucrose are ingested, your body will store it as fat and can lead to obesity. Sucrose also raises the blood glucose levels and can negatively affect people with hypoglycemia or diabetes.
The three main sugars are sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Glucose is more commonly called blood sugar and is converted to energy in your body. While glucose is better for your nutrition, sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup are more commonly used in the production of sugary foods. Fructose has similar effects as sucrose. It can lead to higher cholesterol, higher production of visceral fat and a decreased reaction to insulin. Try opting for artificial sweeteners such as Equal or Splenda. They have far less calories and are just as sweet as natural sugars.
While sucrose is not considered a staple in human nutrition, small amounts in your diet do not pose any serious health risks. Due to the health risks such as obesity and diabetes, it is suggested that you regulate your sugar intake and keep it to a minimum.