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Whether it's naturally occurring fructose or refined sugar that's added to everything from sodas to salad dressings, sugar can be a hard substance to avoid—so why try?
Sugar, natural or processed, causes a spike in insulin—and too much sugar can cause the body to store sugar as fat instead of use it for fuel. The result: Weight gain, which can increase risk of heart disease, diabetes, and chronic illness.
The difference between natural and processed, added sugars? Natural sugars, called fructose or glucose, come in foods that have additional nutritional benefits. For example, an apple has plenty of fiber and vitamins to go along with its fructose content. All these nutrients provide energy and fuel to the body and contribute to a lasting full feeling.
Processed sugars, on the other hand—like what's added to candy bars and breakfast cereals—have no other nutrients. Our bodies break down added sugars into carbohydrates to use for energy, but that's about it.
Check out the ingredients list on packaged foods to help you eliminate added sugars from your diet. They aren't always labeled transparently, so look out for processed sugar's many aliases, including dextrose, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, and many others.
To learn more about sugar and how to healthily swap it out, our host Sara Snow breaks it all down in this video.