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The Relationship Between Sugar and Carbohydrates

Fitday Editor

Sugar and carbohydrates are closely linked in the body. This article will explore that relationship as well as discussing corn syrup, sugar acid, fructose sugar and sugar energy. These are issues that directly affect sugar levels in the body. We'll also explore how carbohydrates get converted to sugar in the body and how the body reacts when you eat foods that are of different carbohydrate content. Our ancestors ate very little sugar except that found in whole fruits and vegetables.

How the Body Processes Sugar

The body interprets and handles all types of sugar in basically the same way. The resulting simple sugar goes into the bloodstream. The pancreas then releases a hormone called insulin that is necessary to move the sugar from the blood into the cells where it can be used for energy. Without the proper amount of insulin, i.e., if there is too much sugar for the body to process, the sugar stays in the bloodstream and causes damage to the heart, nerves and kidneys.

Sugar Acid

Sugar acid is a group of acids that are often distilled out of sugar. Sugar acids have a specific chemical formula that includes different forms of oxygen. Sugar acid is processed differently by the body. The amount of sugar acids varies among different forms of sugar.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is a form of sugar that's extracted from corn. It isn't just a pure and natural extraction. The middle layer, composed largely of pulp, is extracted as cornstarch. It's put into giant containers where enzymes break it down into glucose. That substance is heated and results in corn syrup.


Fructose is a naturally occurring ingredient in most fruits and vegetables. It's a simple sugar. A very small amount of fructose causes less of a blood sugar spike than the same amount of processed sugar. Large amounts of fructose, however, overwhelm the body's ability to process the substance.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

This is corn syrup that has added chemical processes. It contains more calories than raw sugar or even regular sugar. It's an ingredient to avoid because it causes more of a spike in blood sugar levels. It is used to avoid the import taxes of regular sugar.


Carbohydrates come in many forms, and most foods have some carbohydrate content. All carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugar by the body eventually. It takes longer for the body to turn some carbohydrates into simple sugar. Thus, the pancreas is not required to release as much insulin as soon, and this is better for the body.

Healthy Carbohydrates

If you eat complex carbohydrates or those paired with fiber, fats or protein, you give your body more of a chance to deal with the sugar more gradually. Whole grain breads, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth are the healthiest forms of foods in the grain group. Beans, whole fruits and whole vegetables are also healthy forms of carbohydrates. Fruit juice, for instance, makes the body go into a quicker blood sugar spike because there isn't the fiber of the fruit meat to slow down the process. Pairing bread with peanut butter or low-fat cheese also helps the body avoid blood sugar spikes.

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