Sugar is sweet to taste but not so sweet for your body. It is empty calories. It does not contain any nutrients.
According to Indian Dietary Association (IDA), sugar should not make up more than 5% of total daily calorie intake in your diet which comes up to 30 grams a day which is 6 teaspoons (female) and 9 teaspoons (male). Many common everyday Indian sweets contain that much amount of sugar in 1 serving. We also consume sugar in the form of breads, sauces, processed foods or added sweetener to your tea, milkshakes, juices. This leads to sugar consumption to go way beyond the normal limit. With so much excess sugar in the body it goes and deposits in the body as fat, as it is not used. Sugar is a carbohydrate, each gram of it gives 4 kcal. So you can do the math, and know that for every gm of sugar consumed, you have piled on how many empty calories.
Packaged goods and processed food use sugar in different forms and proportion. Sugar can be found with different names on the package namely sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, molasses, hydrolyzed starch, invert sugar corn syrup honey etc. These all come under the added sugar and they provide only sweetness and just add on to the calories with no other nutritional benefits. Hence one must look at the ingredient list as the ingredients are listed by their weight (from high to low)
Most labels provide nutritional content per 100 g/ml. However one needs to check for original weight of the product and calculate accordingly.
When you consume foods that contain simple carbs like table sugar, fruit juice, etc., it gets easily digested in the body. As soon as it enters your bloodstream it gets converted to glucose. This causes a rise in blood sugar levels. A spike in blood sugar causes rise in insulin levels to clear the blood sugar levels. This higher insulin however stays for a longer time in the body causing sugar levels to drop suddenly and in turn causing sugar cravings or hunger pangs.
Excessive sugar consumption can lead to a number of disorders like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. It is important for one to check for sugar content in food in order to avoid health risks.
It is extracted from the leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni plant. It is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Hence quantity required is less. Also it is zero calorie and aids in managing diabetes and weight loss. It has a after taste that needs to be adjusted too.
Besides giving you a sweet taste it is also rich in iron, calcium, magnesium. It can used in sweet preparations like ladoos, chikki etc. This is not zero calories.
It has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It can be used in salad dressings, warm water or milk and many more. This is not Zero calories.
We may not be able to cut down sugar intake from everywhere, however, you could
try to minimize the intake of adding sugar by monitoring your own self and by making
smart choices by reading food labels.
Lowering the intake of sugar levels by small margins is a good way to not feel the difference in taste, but move towards better health over a period of time.