Over the past few year, sugar has been a main focus of media outlets. There have been TV programmes dedicated to debating the positives and negatives of sugar. However, rather than shedding some light on the topic, they have added to the confusion.
So, how does sugar impact our overall health?
Unfortunately, the terms sugar and carbohydrates are often used interchangeably and thus create more confusion than needs be. To clarify, in food science, sugars can be either simple (examples such as glucose and fructose) or complex (such as lactose, starch & dietary fibre) carbohydrates.
Granulated sugar on the other hand, is made up of sucrose – a complex carbohydrate molecule consisting of glucose and fructose in a 1:1 ratio).
Carbohydrate digestion starts in the mouth through salivary action, however, the majority of digestion happens in the intestine through the action of a series of enzymes. This degradation is needed as it allows for carbohydrates to be absorbed easily through the intestinal lining.
The main digestive difference between simple and complex carbohydrates is that simple carbohydrates do not need further digestion and thus are absorbed in their entirety.