Most people believe that all sugar is bad sugar. Well, this is far from the truth! What should be avoided is added sugar that is put in foods such as cookies and candy for sweetening. Naturally occurring sugar in foods such as fruits comes with numerous healthy nutrients and benefits of plant based diets.
Blood sugar or glucose is the amount of sugar in your blood. Your body uses it for energy but too much of it can cause diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. A benefit of plant based diet is it offers naturally occurring healthy sugar. Besides their sugar content, these foods also have a high nutritional value and boost the body’s immune system.
Sweet potatoes are nutritious root vegetables. They contain anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anticancer properties. When boiled, sweet potatoes are grouped as low to high on the glycemic index scale. Their low glycemic index means sweet potatoes release sugar into the bloodstream slowly, unlike other starchy foods. Such a steady release of sugar aids in controlling blood sugar levels especially in both types of diabetes.
Beauregard is the most effective sweet potato variant in blood glucose regulation. Approximately 77% of the fibers in sweet potatoes are insoluble. Insoluble fibers aid in promoting insulin sensitivity, which then helps in regulating sugar in the blood.
Carrots contain carbohydrates and almost half of the total carbs consist of sugar. One large carrot has 3 grams of sugar. They are a safe choice if you have diabetes and are watching your blood sugar levels. These non-starchy vegetables have a low glycemic index of 16 while raw and 32 to 49 when boiled.
Besides sugar, carrots are also high in fiber which is a great benefit of plant based diet. One large carrot has 2 grams of dietary fiber. About half of the fiber is insoluble and helps prevent constipation. The other half consists of soluble fiber that helps slow down the release of sugar and helps lower cholesterol.
Monk fruit is native to Southeast Asia and named after the monks who used to cultivate it. This fruit has been well-known in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for decades. Monk fruit extract is 150 to 200 times sweeter than table sugar and is often used to make a natural sweetener.
The monk fruit sweetener is free of calories and carbs and research suggests that it may even help in better blood sugar control. However, the safety of monk fruit extract as a food additive is yet to be determined.
The monk fruit also contains antioxidant compounds known as mogrosides. Studies have found that mogrosides may help reduce markers of inflammation. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally recognizes the monk fruit as safe and is yet to be linked with any negative side effects.
Bananas like many other fruits contain sugar. However, this kind of sugar is more beneficial to the body than the sugar you add to your coffee or find in candy. Also, the sugar in fruits comes with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and other health benefits of plant based diet.
If you would like to meet your daily sugar needs, then banana is a nice idea. An average banana contains 23g of carbohydrates of which 12g are simple sugars. These fruits also deliver a significant amount of vitamin C, a great immune booster.
The sugar content in a banana increases or decreases depending on the level of ripeness. Green bananas have much less sugar than brown, overripe ones. A case study found that green bananas may promote weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes as well as lower their insulin sensitivity.
A cup of ice cream contains approximately 300 calories. Interestingly, you can enjoy the same amount of watermelon for just 45.6 calories. A cup of watermelon contains 11 grams of carbohydrates of which 9 grams are naturally occurring sugar. And unlike many other desserts, it’s fat-free, cholesterol-free, and has no sodium. Besides, the water in it may help you stay fuller longer.
Watermelon has a glycemic index of 80 which is equivalent to a bowl of cornflakes. A 2019 study conducted found that people who ate watermelon had a reduced desire to eat that lasted up to 90 minutes after eating. Also, the watermelon eaters exhibited reduced waist-to-hip ratios and blood pressure levels.
Besides sugar, watermelon is 92% water. Its high-water content can aid your daily hydration goals and improve gut health.
Too much sugar often does more harm than good to the body. Instead of entirely swearing off sugary foods, you can opt for the sources of healthy sugar that are packed with the health benefits of plant based diet. Moderation is key – always stay within your daily sugar limit.