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The Definitive Guide to Sugars and Carbohydrates

All our products do NOT contain added sugar.

Okay, fine, but what does that imply? 
Does it mean that our innovative solutions have no sugar?

 

No, it doesn’t! Our products are instead powered only by the sugars naturally present in food, and no sugar or sweetener added to make the product sweeter. 

So why are we striving to say that Crownhealth has no added sugar?

To better clarify this concept, let's see together the difference between carbohydrates, sugars, and added sugars.

Carbohydrates

From a chemical point of view, the term "carbohydrate" refers to certain substances consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. While in everyday language, we call carbohydrates those sugars with slow-release, thus those complex molecules formed by different units

From a nutritional point of view, carbohydrates are macronutrients: nutrients we should have in large quantities and whose primary function is to provide energy to our body.  

Considering the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), carbs should be the most represented in our diet and provide about 40-60% of daily calories. So, compared to fats and proteins, carbohydrates are the nutrient we need the most to support all our daily activities. Of course, the daily intake can vary from person to person, depending on body weight and lifestyle. An athlete, for example, may take about 60% carbohydrates (compared to other calories introduced), while for an overweight person, the carbo-load may be reduced in favor of other nutrients. 

We can easily find carbohydrates in various foods: pasta, flour, bread, baked goods, cereals and derivatives, and in many other foods.

Wholemeal bread cut into slices

Sugars

Sugars belong in any case to the carbohydrate family, but, chemically, they refer to simple carbohydrates (fast-release carbs), namely molecules formed by single units or short chains, which are easily digested or “quickly absorbed."

Sugars are chemical molecules naturally present in many foods, for example, in fruit (fructose and glucose). So, when eating a fruit, we must remember we are taking sugars, even if natural.  

As for the recommended dose of simple sugars, this should not exceed 10% of daily calories (eating two fruits a day is enough to reach this amount).

These are the all-natural sugars that power our vegan products. When reading their nutritional facts, you will find the number of carbohydrates, distinct from that of simple sugars. For instance, our energy bars are loaded with the sugars naturally present in fruits.

Added Sugars

There is no scientific definition of added sugars, but in popular jargon, it means anything that is not naturally part of a food. Think of sucrose, the classic cooking sugar, which is added to most processed products.

Thus, added sugars are used to make food sweeter, although the food concerned may already be naturally sweet and rich in sugar naturally (let's think about when we add white sugar on strawberries or in smoothies). 

Grey bowl with white sugar

Added sugars are considered harmful to health and the environment.

On the one hand, they impact our health at the inflammation level. An excess of added sugars, taken mainly with packaged foodstuff, has a direct impact on blood sugar levels because it exceeds the recommended daily intake (10%). The glucose level in the blood rises rapidly, stimulating a continuous secretion of insulin that has various effects on the body. As an example, turning excess sugar into fat. Therefore, added sugars are responsible for the visceral fat, inflammation, and cholesterol increase.

On the other hand, added sugars are also detrimental to the environment since they are refined sugars that require complex industrial processes that have an impact on the health of the planet due to the emission of highly polluting chemicals

Hence, before making a purchase, read the nutritional label and list of ingredients, and remember that sugars naturally present in food are not harmful to your health. On the contrary, they can give you the perfect boost if taken in the right quantities. But pay attention to added sugars!

 

Author: Francesca Deriu, nutritionist

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