Which Sugar Is Better For You? Sucrose or Fructose?

There have been a lot of debate about sugar, especially in the last decade or so now that people have become more health conscious. The health and fitness industry tries to find ways of letting people reduce sugar intake while still administering to their sweet tooth.

Many people have given up sugar altogether while others have switched to artificial sweeteners. The problem with giving up sugar altogether could mean that you may suffer from hypoglycemia otherwise known as low blood sugar. This can occur especially for person who have lowered their carbohydrate intake because they want to lose weight.

While I was on a diet some time ago I did severely reduce both my sugar and carb intake and I would have frequent tremors and grinding of the teethe. My doctor could not find anything wrong with me except my blood sugar had dropped too low. It was determined that my new diet and exercise regime was the cause.

I increased my carb and sugar intake again and I was okay. I have a teaspoon spoon of sugar in my tea each morning and that keeps me for the day. Whatever other sugars I have are found in the carbs and other foods I eat. I don't eat processed foods so I don't have to worry about added sugars. We eat as much fresh food as possible so that eliminates one problem.


The different kind of sugars

There are different kinds of sugars in this world and they all serve their purpose. Some of them are complex sugars are better known as complex carbohydrates and there are simple sugars. Complex carbs are those that help to provide sustained energy by taking a while to be digested and released into the blood stream. These are usually foods that have fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Simple sugars on the other hand digest really quickly and provide a quick burst of energy then subsides just as quickly. These sugars are usually found in drinks and some pastry.

Some types of simple sugars

  • fructose - fruit sugar
  • glucose - another fruit sugar important for photosynthesis
  • sucrose - from the sugar cane
  • galactose - not found on its own but along with other sugars such as lactose
  • maltose - formed during the germination of grains such as barley and wheat
  • lactose - milk sugar


Is Sucrose or Fructose better for you?

A very recent study in Germany conducted on three sets of mice where "set 1" were given brown sugar (sucrose), "set 2" were given granulated sugar (sucrose) and "set 3" were given (fruit sugar) fructose.

After several weeks of feeding these mice it was discovered that all the mice gained weight but the mice that were fed the fructose gained significantly more weight.


Why?

When we consume sugar, insulin is released into the blood stream and this regulates our blood sugar levels. This sends a signal to our brain to tell us when we have had enough. The consumption of fructose does not release insulin so there are no quota signals to say when to stop eating.

Have you ever binged on fruits? Like having fruits all day and still feel hungry? Fructose does not curb appetite but normal sugar does. For example, having very sweet cake or drink will give us a feeling of being full or as we say in my country “it cloys us”. For this reason people will have the sweet desert after a meal or they may have some sweet coffee because they feel cloyed or full afterward and this will stop them from over-eating.

In the same study it was also determined that brown sugar was the better sugar to consume because it retained all the vitamins and minerals from the sugar cane. Granulated sugar, even though has the same effect on us as far as sugar content is concerned, does not retain the minerals from the sugar cane because it has to go through a longer processing period.


And So

What the study also showed is that sugar is sugar regardless of what state it is in so we should moderate our intake for whatever sugar we do consume. So we conclude that, though fruits are an essential part of our daily nutrition we should stick to the required daily amounts or we could have a weight gain problem on our hands, especially for those on a weight loss diet.


Disclaimer

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You take full legal responsibility for whatever decisions you make regarding you own health care. Consult your health care provider about your nutrition.

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Comments 32 comments

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Great topic that is a leading concern with health issues and you have covered it very well. I agree that sugar is sugar and you have to regulate your consumption regardless of the type consumed. I do prefer to use a pure, natural sugar such as stevia, honey or agave as sweeteners. Thanks for sharing and voted up!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

I've often wondered about this question. Thank you for a well-researched hub. As always, moderation is the best policy!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thank you Teaches12345, I do prefer honey too. Honey is expensive in my country so we use the brown sugar with moderation. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Vespawoolf, I use to think that we could have any amount of fruits at that was okay but then I learned that you can "overdose" on fruit sugars. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

This is interesting and there are also other foods we can eat to help control sugar levels to help prevent us from becoming diabetic and still have sweets in moderation. I have written on those and they are quite simple like barley and lentils. They cook in no time and can be kept a few days and tossed into salads, soups, just anything and you barely notice them. Good to bring this all to attention. Interesting and useful.


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 4 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Very interesting, Carolee. I do like sweets and have found that usually one square of a dark chocolate bar usually takes care of me for the day. I've never had a weight problem, but I also never want to have one.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thanks Jackie. We do become diabetic when we don't produce enough insulin to control our blood sugar levels. We should make sure that whatever we consume to do it in moderation.

Have a blessed holiday weekend.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi James, dark chocolate is actually good for us and not that sweet. many people binge on fruits and think they are doing themselves justice because fruits are good for you. What they don't know is that they are piling on the pounds.

Have a blessed and holy Easter weekend.


editorsupremo profile image

editorsupremo 4 years ago from London, England

Good Hub. You're right, sugar is sugar and it will always induce a rise in blood glucose levels regardless of type. So it is a case of being discerning and choosing the right carbohydrates, ones that slowly releases sugars so that you do not gain weight or push the sugar into your blood stream, which can in turn have an adverse effect on your internal organs. As you said, the key is everything in moderation.

Voted up


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thank you for a very insightful comment Editorsupremo. That's why complex carbs are better for us than simple sugars because they provide sustained energy.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

yes, I used to think I could eat as much fruit as I wanted, too. I happen to love fruit, but this is a good reminder not to overdo it!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Me too, I thought the same thing until I did my Nutrition courses and became aware.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Agree with this article. Fructose will eventually be bad and is unfortunately seen around in many products we consume...bread etc.

Sucrose is much better to consume but in small quantity.

voted up as interesting information!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Ruchira, you are right. Corn syrup is a culprit of fructose and many drinks that we feed our children has, even some candies. Any drink having High fructose Corn Syrup should not be had.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 4 years ago from San Antonio Texas

Timely topic. Maybe you want to add recent controversy: some medical experts are stating sugar is so dangerous to health that it should be regulated, and come with label warnings. Also, fructose is linked with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. So for me, “sugar is sugar” is not really the case. Fructose is metabolized very differently than sucrose.

While you had an unfortunate experience with your blood sugar dropping, most people are going to get more than enough “sugar” through fruits, vegetables, and other foods. You might want to add something to show that hypoglycemic episodes are more exception than rule. Just a suggestion.

I recommend that you do a disclaimer at the bottom (not intended as a substitute for medical advice, etc.) just to cover yourself. I have disclaimers on a lot of my stuff.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thank you Rmcrayne. You are so right. I should do the disclaimer thing most of my hubs and yes, add some more info about the topic. You always steer me in the right direction. Thanks.


Danareva profile image

Danareva 4 years ago from Miami

It seems like a lot of health problems we deal with come down to excess. Whatever I eat, whether it is fruit or bread or dairy, I try to eat in moderation. You can't have too much of any sugar, but I am not sure if small amounts of sugar subs are so bad. I have also heard that sweetners such as honey and agave nectar are healthier alternatives to both real and fake sugar. Interesting read!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Thanks Danareva, and you are right. I don't trust artificial sweetener because they almost always have some side effects.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 4 years ago from San Antonio Texas

Cardisa, you are always so gracious about feedback, a very admirable trait. I have a page of 6 or so of my sample disclaimers. If you are interested just let me know.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Rmcrayne, don't you know that I always look up to you? You are one of my role models on HP. Yes I am interested in the disclaimer and am working on updating the hub. Thanks yo so much.


MobyWho profile image

MobyWho 4 years ago from Burlington VT

Sugar is so interesting. I did a test (purely amateur) awhile back. I was driving FL to CT by myself frequently, starting early a.m. Originally, I'd stop around 8:00 and have a cup of black coffee and a sweet pastry. By 9:30, I'd be droopy. Sugar high - hard drop. Then I tried having no sugar at 8:00 - coffee and an egg on a piece of toast. I was still roaring along at noon! What goes up must go down.

Also, my old Italian uncle swore by 1 T of honey a day...lived into his 90s.

And - I assume by saying 'brown' sugar, you are referring to 'raw' sugar, or demarara - unprocessed. Much better for you - no chemicals. I don't know how they make brown sugar, but it must be cooked in the process?

Thanks Cardisa - you always have interesting Hubs!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi MobyWho, that was interesting and I know many people can relate, myself included. If you can sub the sugar for honey that would be even better for you. Brown sugar is usually bowl down to raw sugar (we sugar) then crystallized. Granulated sugar goes through an additional process to extract the colour.

Thanks for leaving such an interesting comment.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Thanks Carolee for the info; fructuose have cause more damage than 2 world wars together, so to speak. I notice that my body letsme know if too sweet is beyond my sweetness. I've seen women and men making mistakes without noticing it. Thanks for the valuable update.

LORD

P.S. Every time I travel over the Caribbean ocean, I pass over Havanna, and to my left I see this paradise Island... and I tell myself, there she is..! My friend Carolee didn't even notice I flew over her. What a small world, down there!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

You seem to travel a lot, my Lord. Your name reminds me of medieval times, I just love that era. I can imagine you being a knight and me.....well....every time I hear an aeroplane from now on, I'll think of you flying over me...lol


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

Excellent topic and information. Thanks for this information as I would have thought otherwise. Rated up and useful!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Pamela, I use to think that fruit sugar was better too. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 4 years ago from Michigan

Great topic Cardisa. I also wrote a hub on sweeteners and was amazed by my research. I have just discovered that there is a coconut sweetener. I bought some to try it ... it is wonderful and tastes much like brown sugar. I still need to do my research on it. I use stevia most of the time and sparingly use honey and agave to sweeten. Voted Up and useful.

Mekenzie


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Mekenzie, I still use brown sugar but sparingly. What I find amazing is that the exact same things that we are told are bad for us are the things our grandparents use to use and they never had diabetes or any other of the illnesses we are having today. I too need to do more research as I need to update this hub. Thanks for stopping by.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

..don't ever worry Carolee - the epigramman will never leave your side - as you are the sweetest sugar I've tasted since - oh god - I don't know when - lol - and a heartfelt congratulations on 700 followers - I really don't know of anyone who deserves it more than you - sending you warm wishes, hugs and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 1:04pm


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hi Epi, thank God it's still you. Thanks for the congrats and warm wishes. Have a blessed and productive week and yes I am some kinda sweet!


Nature Nat 3 years ago from Luton

Great topic.....I agree that sugar is only benifical for a boost of energy, and your right fructose will make you gain weight, mostly if it is in a fruit juice, eating it in its whole form is more benefical as its partnered fiber,vitamins and minerals, but by far artificial sweeteners are more dangerous, stay away from aspartame. I agree with the other comments on using stevia in its raw form and raw unpasterized honey. Keep up the good work.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica Author

Hello Nature Nat, thank you. Sugar has no real nutritional benefit but honey has lots of anti-oxidants. I recommend honey any day.

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