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The debate on Human’s intervention with nature has raged on for decades. We often think that we can do a better job than nature itself, but that hasn’t always been the case. When it comes to the foods we eat, we often add chemicals to change and reshape what nature produces. Whether its adding hormones or sugar, the side effects have hindered our health. As the debate continues, let’s look at the differences between natural and added sugar.

Natural Sugar

Natural sugar is just that, natural. It is the original amount of sugar found in produce that is grown in nature. Fructose and lactose are two natural forms of sugar found in all naturally grown fruits, vegetables, and dairy. It has a purpose and helps our bodies with digestion. When we consume it, our bodies digest them slowly at a more relaxed rate. This helps us maintain both a consistent metabolism and blood pressure.

Added Sugar

Added, or “refined,” sugar is often added to our food to heighten taste. Refined sugar takes the form of sucrose, which is extracted glucose and fructose combined. Refined sugar is sugar going into over-drive; it forces our digestion to speed up which can heighten our blood pressure and create prolonged health issues.

Sugar is as Sweet as We Make It

Nature is better for us, but sugar is sugar. Something to remember is that sugar only stays natural if we leave it alone. If we process it, we can change it and make it worse for ourselves, and that’s before adding refined sugar on top. In a Harvard study, researchers found that by juicing fruits, natural sugar was released, greatly increasing the amount of sugar consumed. However, the labeling classified it as natural sugar because it only came from the fruit itself. There have been movements to address how we process sugar, and it is important to understand that overconsumption of any type of sugar is unhealthy.

Whether natural or refined, a healthy diet calls for balanced nutrition. An apple is considerably healthier than a candy bar, but overconsuming fruit can have its negative effects too. The key is to offset refined sugar with natural sugar, and sugar in general with healthy protein, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins. That balance is hard to achieve, but not impossible. Stay informed, stay active, and live your best life in retirement.