Sugar may be sweet, but it can sour your health

Sugar seems to be in everything from fruit to candy, but are some sugars good for you and others not?

According to Barbara Bailey, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., a registered dietitian at the Good Health Center and Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, there are different kinds of sugars in the foods we eat. White table sugar is not the same as the sugar in a fresh orange.

“We need carbohydrates for energy and they are made up of chains of sugars,” said Ms. Bailey. “We burn sugar for energy and that’s what our bodies need to keep going through out the day.”

According to Ms. Bailey, problems arise when people use too much refined sugars. For example, white table sugar comes from a plant. We tend to use too much sugar in its refined form, but using sugar in its plant form wouldn’t be excessive, said Ms. Bailey.
If a person eats an apple they are getting a healthy balance of fiber, carbohydrates and sugar. Drinking a can of soda, however, has too many refined sugars and those sugars aren’t good for the body, according to Ms. Bailey.

“Sugars and carbohydrates are what our toes use to walk,” Ms. Bailey said with a giggle. “We are attracted to the foods that give our body energy.”

Ms. Bailey said technically a person cannot become addicted to sugar, but she has had some clients who find it hard to put down the sweet stuff.

“If we don’t have diabetes out bodies can process the daily intake of carbohydrates,” said Ms. Bailey. “The problem in our country is too many calories which come from carbohydrates, protein and fat. When we eat more calories than our body can burn off, it starts to store it as fat.”

Ms. Bailey said it is a personal choice if you eat things with sugar or not. In order to cut down on sugar Ms. Bailey recommended a few tips. When food shopping, walk around the edge of the grocery store because there are less processed and fresher foods along the perimeter. The aisle foods have the added sugars and salts in them.

“If you want that sugar taste, use spices that bring out the flavor in foods, like ginger, nutmeg and vanilla,” said Ms. Bailey. “If you are going to have some kind of refined sugar, limit your serving size to one serving.”

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.