Most people can't tell the difference between natural sugar and high-fructose corn syrup when preparing or eating food–they taste nearly the same and are frequently used in food and drinks.
If you're trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, it's essential to know the difference between the two so you know which one to use and which to avoid, and you may also want to consider the benefits of natural syrups, like those from Skinny Mixes, and know whether natural syrups are safe to consume for diabetics.
What Is Natural Sugar?
Natural sugars are those found naturally in foods like fruits and vegetables. Natural sugars are essential to a healthy diet because they come with other nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.
In addition, fruits and vegetables with natural sugars contain phytochemicals, which can help fight diseases like cancer. Natural sugars elicit a slower and less pronounced glucose response from the body thanks to fiber and protein content that slows digestion and absorption–simply put, eating naturally sweetened foods is essential to a healthy diet.
What Is High-Fructose Corn Syrup?
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a popular sweetener made from corn. HFCS is found in many processed foods with added sugars, such as soft drinks, canned fruits, boxed desserts, flavored yogurts, baked goods, cereals, and condiments.
People use HFCS to make food and drinks taste better. It can intensify fruit and spice flavors, prolong product freshness, help ferment liquids, stabilize a product, enhance cooked flavors, and surface brown baked goods.
According to studies, HFCS boosts hunger and obesity more than natural sugars. HFCS also contributes to diabetes, inflammation, high triglycerides, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
How Are They Different?
The main difference between natural sugar and high-fructose corn syrup is that natural sugar is unrefined and unprocessed, while high-fructose corn syrup is highly processed. Natural sugar is less sweet and has fewer calories than high-fructose corn syrup.
Natural sugar is found in fruits and vegetables, while high-fructose corn syrup is present in processed foods and beverages. Natural sweeteners have a lower glycemic index than added sugars like high-fructose corn syrup.
Common Examples of Natural Sugar
There are many different sources of natural sweeteners–here are a few of the more common types:
Stevia is a natural sweetener from the leaves of the small perennial shrub Stevia rebaudiana, also known as the Bertoni plant. It is calorie-free and best used as a sugar alternative in non-alcoholic beverages; it is also a common tabletop sweetener.
Real Fruit Pulp
You can use fruit in the form of purees, jams, or dried as a sugar substitute. According to recent studies, luo han guo (also called monkfruit) extracts can also act as high-intensity sweeteners.
Agave syrup is made from the sap of agave plants. It is one of those natural syrups that is sweeter than sugar, has a lower glycemic index, and includes more fructose. It is approximately one-and-one-half times as sweet as sugar, so you get more sweetness with less sugar–you can even substitute this syrup for vanilla extract!
Sugar alcohols are natural sweeteners and low-digestible carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables. The most common sugar alcohols used as natural sweeteners include sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, mannitol, erythritol, isomalt, and lactitol.
Which One Is Better for You?
Natural sugar is the better choice when it comes to your health. It's unrefined and unprocessed, so it doesn't contain harmful chemicals–it's also not as sweet as high-fructose corn syrup which stimulates your appetite, so you're less likely to overeat.
In the markets, you can find a wide selection of food and beverages that contain natural sugars. For instance, Skinny Mixes has a naturally sweet coffee bar bundle that will delight coffee lovers. These flavors have no artificial sweeteners, calories, or refined sugar!
With natural sugars, you can still enjoy your favorite food without worrying about the harmful effects of added sweeteners.
Reducing sugar consumption is vital for a healthy lifestyle–the body slowly absorbs naturally sweetened foods. Natural sugar also helps maintain blood sugar levels, making them preferable sugar alternatives for individuals with diabetes, which is why Skinny Mixes’ naturally sweetened syrups are the way to go for just about anyone!
However, remember that natural sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are both types of sugar that can have adverse health effects if consumed in large quantities. Moderation is key when it comes to the use of either type of sweetener.