Simple Sugars: Essential Things To Know For Your Health

by Michael Brown on May 29, 2019

green apple juice with simple sugars

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 Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are three macronutrients that are necessary in order to support life.

In this article, we will be focusing on a particular kind of carbohydrate, namely simple sugars.

After giving a brief overview of simple sugars, we discuss some tips that people can use to optimize their intake of simple sugars. Then, we emphasize the importance of fruit when consuming simple sugars. Finally, we end with some thoughts on how to execute a balanced diet.

A Brief Overview Of Simple Sugars

Simple sugars are called monosaccharides. They are made up of a single sugar molecule, earning them the name, “simple”.


Some examples of simple sugars include fructose, glucose, and galactose.

Fruits are high in fructose. Dairy products are high in galactose. Glucose is in many different types of foods, though the body converts carbohydrates into glucose, so it’s not necessary to consume these simple sugars directly. Still, fruits, grains, many vegetables and honey are high in glucose.

Since simple sugars have very few nutrients, they are very quickly broken down by the body.

Simple sugars can form bonds with other simple sugars to create disaccharides and polysaccharides. Disaccharides contain two simple sugar compounds while polysaccharides contain more than two simple sugars.

Tips For How To Optimize Intake Of Simple Sugars

white sugars

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When eating a balanced diet, it’s inevitable that you will consume simple sugars. The key is not to avoid these compounds but rather to optimize how you consume them.

When consuming simple sugars, we recommend choosing foods that are high in fiber, protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins.

Foods that are high in fat will help slow down the digestion and assimilation of simple sugars, preventing drastic spikes in blood sugar levels. When eating fatty foods, simple sugars will take longer to break down, providing stable energy for many hours.

When you consume excess simple sugars, insulin is needed to balance your blood sugar levels. This can result in insulin resistance over a long period of time, which can lead to sugars being stored as fat. This can ultimately result in diabetes and obesity.

In this sense, we also recommend engaging in moderation when consuming foods that are high in simple sugars. When it comes to extremely processed simple sugars like white or brown sugar, this might mean only 2-3 servings a day.

Some people eat entire meals of fruit. Some people even eat entire meals of a single fruit. This is called mono-mealing. This approach to dieting can have a profound impact on your state of health, though it should only be adopted if high quality fruit can be acquired.

Consuming low-quality fruit amounts to consuming low quality simple sugars, which is ultimately bad for your health.

The Critical Importance Of Fruit

berries blackberries blueberries

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Fruit is one of the most important sources of simple sugars. This is because it’s high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, all of which are critical to good health.

Yet, not all fruit is of high quality. When eating fruit, there are several important factors to consider.

First, make sure the fruit is ripe before eating it. This allows the simple sugars sufficient time to develop, providing a more complex taste that will satisfy you for longer. This will prevent you from reaching for unhealthy sources of simple sugars like junk foods and overly processed foods. These kinds of foods can compromise your health and can even be addicting.

Each fruit has different signs indicating its ripeness. The best way to determine the ripeness of a fruit is to use your senses. If the fruit seems appealing, then it’s probably ripe.

Unripe fruit doesn’t want to be eaten and will likely not be appealing to you. Since the main purpose of fruit is to perpetuate itself through its seeds, ripe fruit will truly seduce you. Some fruits like bananas will even open themselves, indicating that they are ready to be eaten.

In addition to ripeness, you should select fruit that is in season. This kind of fruit tastes the best and also has a high sugar content. This means that you can eat less of them and still be satisfied, preventing you from consuming excess simple sugars.

We also recommend consuming local fruit if possible. This might not be possible during some parts of the year depending on where you live. At the very least, you should try to buy fruit that has traveled the least number of miles. When fruit travels many miles, its quality is compromised, making us less satisfied after we eat it. This can lead to binging later on or reaching for quick sources of energies like processed foods.

It’s also critical that you consume organic fruits, as these foods lack the harmful pesticides that are used on some non-organic foods. These toxic chemicals can damage some of the simple sugars present in fruit, making them harder to digest.

The Importance Of Making Your Own Food

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Making your own food is also vital when trying to optimize your intake of simple sugars.

When you make your food from scratch, you’re able to control the ingredients, which allows you to avoid many unhealthy simple sugars.

Many processed foods contain additives like sucrose or high fructose corn syrup which lack the nutrients of whole foods like fruit. Thus, these additives are often considered to be “empty calories”.

When baking, you can always substitute white sugar or brown sugar for fruit. For example, if you are making a cake, you could always use mashed bananas. Furthermore, there are many sweet ingredients you can use that are actually healthy, like maple syrup or honey.

On another level, making your own food can be a highly rewarding experience that allows you to connect on a deeper level with the food you are about to consume. This actually optimizes your digestion, allowing you to feel fuller for longer. This will also prevent you from sneaking into the pantry late at night to binge on unhealthy sources of simple sugars like cookies, ice cream, and various candies.

Furthermore, when you make your own food, you are less likely to eat out at restaurants. This allows you to avoid many of the overly processed foods that can be encountered at restaurants. These foods often contain simple sugars yet lack the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fat needed to break them down. This can result in feeling full, yet dissatisfied, which is a recipe for disaster. It’s no wonder that many people end their restaurant meals with dessert. Restaurant desserts allow people to feel satisfied even though they didn’t receive proper nutrition over the course of the meal.

When you make your own food, you don’t have to worry about consuming desert at the end of the meal, as your craving for sugar will be satiated by the healthy simple sugars in foods like fruit.

Foods To Avoid When Optimizing Simple Sugars

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Lastly, there are several foods that you should avoid at all costs if you want to optimize your intake of simple sugars.

Alcoholic beverages are a no-no, as these drinks often contain refined sugars, flavored syrups, sodas, and mixers. These admixtures are extracts rather than whole foods, meaning they lack sufficient nutrition for digestion.

We also recommend limiting condiments, as these also have many ingredients with an excessive amount of simple sugars. Additionally, condiments can obscure the taste of the food you are eating, which is an important part of digestion. When each bite is flavored by a particular condiment, you might feel dissatisfied at the end of the meal, which could lead to you eating unhealthy desserts.

If you do decide to have dessert after your meal, we recommend splitting it with someone else. This will allow you to eat less while still indulging your sweet tooth.

Our Final Thoughts On Simple Sugars

lemon juice

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We think simple sugars are necessary for any healthy diet. Yet, too much of these compounds can also be bad, making moderation critical.

It’s also important to remember the role that stress plays in digestion. If you are stressed about the foods you are eating, then that could compromise your health, as stress can negatively impact how nutrients are assimilated.

Thus, you should care about the foods you eat, obviously, but you shouldn’t become obsessed with this. Diet is only one component of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, happiness, relationships, and creative fulfilment are arguably just as important.

At the end of the day, the best way to optimize your diet is to prioritize whole foods over refined foods. This doesn’t mean that you can’t consume refined foods. Rather, it means that you should try to minimize your consumption of these foods.

Get Your Simple Sugars and Trust Your Intuition

It’s also important to note that simple sugars are just a concept invented by science. When selecting foods to eat, we recommend relying on intuition rather than abstraction, as this draws upon the body’s innate wisdom.

As long as you follow the tips we presented throughout this article, you should experience vibrant health and digestion, which will of course lead to a profound sense of happiness.

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