Food + DrinkHealth + Wellness

Refined Sugar vs Natural Sugar – What’s the difference?

When trying to clean up their diet, many people often cut down on their fruit intake as a way to avoid eating sugar. However, fruit is an integral part of any diet – it’s packed full of vitamins, minerals and natural sugars which help you to stay happy and healthy. However, when it comes to refined sugar vs natural sugar, there’s a distinct difference – but what exactly is the difference between the two?

Refined Sugar vs Natural Sugar: Is There a Difference?

When it comes to sugar, many people are under the illusion that all kinds of sugars are the same, but that’s not strictly true. Both refined sugar and natural sugar are both simple carbohydrates, but there are unmistakable differences between the two, especially when it comes to their effects on the human body.

Most fruits contain natural sugars, which is why people try to avoid them. However, fruit is packed with fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and water, helping you to feel satiated, healthy and energetic. So, unlike refined sugar, natural sugar is often found alongside some essential nutrients needed by the body.

Refined sugar has a slightly different effect on the body than natural sugar. Refined sugar is derived from sugar cane or sugar beets which are processed to extract the sugar. Unlike natural sugar, refined sugar is packed full of ‘empty’ calories as it doesn’t provide your body with any other nutrients, making weight gain more likely.


Why Can Refined Sugar Make You Put On Weight?

When it comes to refined sugar vs natural sugar, there’s one difference which stands out from the rest – refined sugar is much more likely to cause weight gain.

Refined sugar can cause you to experience extreme fluctuations in energy, followed by an intense craving for sugar.

Refined sugar can be found in a range of foods, from biscuits and chocolate to cakes and sweets – none of which are a particularly healthy option. Unlike fruit, these foods contain very little nutritional value and almost no fibre. Because of the lack of fibre, these foods are digested incredibly quickly by the body, causing a sugar rush. After this sugar rush, the body responds by releasing insulin to help remove the excess sugar from the blood and deposit it into the tissues, causing a sugar crash.

During a sugar crash, it’s common to feel weak, grumpy and lightheaded and you’ll almost certainly be craving more sugar, forcing you to reach for another slice of cake. This continues as an endless cycle – the more refined sugar you consume, the more you’ll crave it, leading to over-eating and weight gain.

This is the very reason why sugar cravings can be difficult to combat. When you eat refined sugar, there’s a surge dopamine in the brain, giving you a similar high to many recreational drugs. After this high, the brain continually seeks out sources of refined sugar to reproduce the positive feelings that come from the release of dopamine. This is the very reason why people often find themselves craving sugary ‘comfort’ foods when they’re feeling down.

When you consume too much refined sugar, your liver is forced to expand and you’ll exceed its glycogen stores. Your liver then converts this excess glycogen into fatty acids and deposits them in inactive parts of your body including the stomach, bum, hips and thighs.

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But why exactly is this different to fruit sugars?

Because fruit is a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals, you won’t experience the same sugar highs and lows as you would with refined sugar. Natural sugar provides your body with a longer source of energy, without the crashes and cravings.

Natural Sugar vs Refined Sugar: Where Can They Be Found?

Natural sugar can be found in a huge range of fruits and vegetables. Some of the best sources of natural sugar include:

  • Fresh Fruit
  • Some Vegetables (Including carrots and beetroot)
  • Dates
  • Honey

However, refined sugar can be a lot more difficult to spot than natural sugar and can be hidden in a huge range of food – even soup! Some of the ingredients to look out for include:

  • Dextrose
  • Cane Juice
  • Dextran
  • Fructose
  • Maltose
  • Glucose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Manniton

Ultimately, a healthy diet should be balanced and contain a huge range of foods to keep you healthy and happy. But when it comes down to refined sugar vs natural sugar, natural should certainly be the one to include in your diet.

About the author: Go Go Fruit Basket create healthy, fresh fruit baskets to deliver straight to your door. Go Go Fruit Basket was launched in 2000 as a way for local people to send fruit baskets as gifts to friends and family. They create, pack and despatch every single fruit basket in their Cheshire warehouse to ensure that customer satisfaction is guaranteed.

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