Do you know the difference between intrinsic sugar, free sugar and added free sugar?

If you have ever been told "beware of fruit, which has a lot of sugar", you should continue reading to give a well-argued answer to someone who will repeat something similar. As you probably intuit, the sugar in the fruit, which is called fructose, does not have the same effect for our body as the honey sugar or the one found in ultraprocessed products such as cookies and buns.

"The sugar of an orange is not the same as that of an orange juice, that of some orange-flavored cookies," says dietitian-nutritionist Carlos Ríos, creator of the real food movement, in one of his Instagram profile posts where he talks about this topic.

In this way, orange and any other fruit contain intrinsic sugar, that is, naturally present in its composition along with other components such as vitamins, fiber or antioxidants. Its set of nutrients therefore makes the consumption of this food (and this type of sugar) healthy and highly recommended.

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On the other hand, we found free sugar which is the one that is released, as Carlos Ríos explains "from his food matrix (the fruit)". In this case we refer to natural orange juice without pulp and natural honey. In the case of juice, when losing fiber, the sugar passes more quickly to the blood and provides less satiety than when the whole piece of fruit is taken. So much so that, to make a glass of juice two or three oranges are usually squeezed and, think about it, would you be able to eat three whole oranges in one meal? Most likely, the answer is no, however, in juice, you will have no problem. Therefore, it is advisable to take the whole piece and, in case of making juice, take it with the pulp and that its consumption does not shift the intake of other fruits.

And finally, the free sugar added, which is the most damaging of the three. We find it hidden in cookies, packaged juices, pastries, ice cream, chocolates and in some dairy products, among others. It usually appears in large quantities and is also accompanied by other unhealthy ingredients such as refined flours, poor quality oils (sunflower, palm …), salt and other additives.


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If you look, in most of these products you will find an eternal ingredient list with the very small letter and usually headed by sugar. Sometimes the package includes words like light or natural to give the appearance of being a healthy food, but it is not. Therefore, as recommended by this dietitian, it is best to always look at the ingredients and limit their consumption to specific occasions. Get them out of your pantry and avoid temptations!

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