Sugar Info

Let's talk sugar for a moment. First, I don't have a medical background. I'm just determined to figure out what's going on, and am sharing what I've found out through online research. I'm trying to explain enough to form a basis for making reasonable nutritional choices.

The three simple sugars (monosaccharides):

  1. glucose: the primary fuel for our bodies.
  2. fructoseprocessed slowly in the liver, and even slower by some people (maybe me?); stored by fat if too much is consumed at once.
  3. galactose: primarily found in dairy; apparently easily processed in quantity by the body.
Although fructose is considered sweeter than glucose, to me it has what I think of as the "high" sweet, while glucose is the more mellow note. I'm not quite sure where the galactose fits. Think of these three as K'nex or Tinker Toys. Hook simple sugars together in a variety of ways, and you get other sugars.

A touch of chemistry: some common "compound" sugars:

  • Sucrose = glucose + fructose (this is white "table" sugar)
  • Lactose = glucose + galactose (the sugar in milk)
  • Dextrose Monohydrate = glucose + water (solid crystal form)
  • Trehalose = glucose + glucose, with a specific chemical bond
  • Maltose = multiple glucose (syrup or powder; malt, used in brewing)
FYI: An enzyme breaks the bond in lactose that binds the glucose to the galactose. People who don't have enough of that enzyme are "lactose intolerant".

Does the source of the sugar matter?

Imagine you're a liver, and you just got loaded with fructose. Now you're trying to make enough enzymes to break it down. Will your job be any easier if the fructose came from honey instead of corn syrup? There may be other wonderful things that were in that honey, but to your liver, fructose is fructose, no matter where it came from.

What does matter? Soluble fiber, conveniently provided in whole fruit to complement the fructose. The fiber slows down digestion, and makes the fructose take longer to reach you, the liver. Slow and steady makes a big difference. It reminds me of Lucy and Ethel, faced with too much candy to process. Your liver will store the extra on your body too.

But Wait! There's More!

Besides the bad health effects of fructose, eating lots of these sugars was robbing me of enjoying the subtleties and nuances that have always been present in food. Dex+ has added complexity back to my food.

After adjusting to the reduced level of "high sweet", I can taste a pleasant sweetness in toasted nuts, bell peppers, and browned meat; watermelon and cantaloupe are sweet like candy. Ironically, reducing fructose has made all my food taste sweeter; it was like reducing static on the radio, revealing subtleties in the music.

I went to a favorite restaurant, and noticed the salsa tasted like someone poured sugar in it, yuck! They had not changed the recipe; the sugar had always been there. I no longer need to look at a label to know when sugar was added.

Here's a listing of sugar sources.

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