Welcome to the “You & Sugar” site, dedicated to providing you with accurate information about sugar.
As there is much discussion about sugar, this site offers science-based facts so that you are well equipped to make informed decisions for you and your family. The information has been reviewed by registered dietitians.
What is sugar?
Sugar is a carbohydrate and it is present in fruit, vegetables, sugarcane and sugar beet plants. Sugar is pure, it has no additives nor preservatives.
Sugar is a source of energy and is converted into glucose just as sugar from fruit and vegetables is turned into glucose. There are many different types of sugars such as lactose which is found in milk and dairy products and maltose found in malted drinks and beer.
South Africa produces high quality sugar (sucrose), and you may find many types on your supermarket shelf. You may be most familiar with white and brown sugar.
Many people may believe that brown sugar is healthier, however nutritionally speaking, brown sugar and white sugar are not much different. Brown and white sugar may taste a little different but they are both sucrose. Both have an energy content of 16.8kJ (4 calories) per gram and are processed by the body in the same way to become glucose.
Let’s look at the functional properties of sugar that includes taste, increasing the quality of our diets, how it is necessary to make a variety of food, and its uses in cooking and baking.
Sugar has been part of our lives for centuries and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle. So with sugar being part of our lives we need to understand how we can enjoy it in a healthy balanced lifestyle.
You, Diet and Sugar
Healthy eating, or a balanced diet, means eating a variety of foods to supply nutrients our bodies need. All food groups should be included. Let’s look at the different foods within these food groups, to make up a balanced diet.
Carbohydrates, or starchy foods, are usually the staple foods for families in South Africa. They contribute most of our food energy. These foods are generally inexpensive and help to satisfy our appetite. Starchy foods include bread, rice, samp, porridge, cereals and pasta.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a useful tool for adults 18 years and older to know whether you weigh too much for your height. If your BMI is between 18,5 – 24,9 your weight is normal. If it is equal to or greater than 25 but less than 30, you are overweight; and if it equal to or greater than 30, you will be classified as obese. The higher your BMI, the greater the risk is of developing complications such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
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Use Your Powers for Good
Mixing foods together offers more variety. Make starchy foods part of most meals, starting with wholegrain options like whole-wheat bread for longer lasting energy.
Wholegrains, like oats, are loaded with fibre that helps maintain healthy bowel habits. Adding milk adds a good source of calcium.
A pita bread and butter beans both provide a source of longer-lasting energy.
This meal is loaded with vegetables, hidden in the tomato base and as crudités.
Animal food sources, like beef, offer good sources of protein, vitamin B12 and are considered to be better absorbed sources of iron.
Enjoying a variety of foods includes using a variety of preparation and cooking methods, as in this meal.
Lean red meat and egg are both sources of high quality protein.
Potatoes offer a major source of energy, fibre and vitamins and minerals.
An animal-sourced food is a particularly good source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, iron and zinc.
Both eggs and spinach offer a source of iron.
A naturally high in fat, carbohydrate and energy food – croissants are not an everyday choice, but an occasional treat.
Starchy foods, like pasta, should form a part of most meals and are a major source of energy.
Avocado is a good source of monounsaturated fats, aim to include more monounsaturated fats like avocado, canola and olive oil.
Aim to always consume mixed meals, to increase variety by eating different foods from various food groups.
Fats are a concentrated source of energy. Spread the muffin with peanut butter. This legume contains beneficial polyunsaturated fats, to include in your child’s diet.
ADSA Comments on the 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
"Sugar is a carbohydrate and it is present in fruit, vegetables, sugarcane and sugar beet plants"
"Sugar has been part of our lives for centuries and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle"