What is Zero Sugar?
Zero sugar/Sugar Free means that there is no sugar in a product, or an insignificant amount for the body – usually under 0.5g per 100g. However, in order to make up for the lack of sugar in a product, brands often include artificial or natural sweeteners into the product. Fortunately, ViDrate is all about the latter one – natural!
We all know excess sugar is not good for us but our bodies do get cravings! So below we have tried to give you as much information as possible about sugar and what there is. Too much sugar can lead to weight gain as sugar, when not correctly digested, turns to fat.
Why sugar is bad for you
Like everything, sugar is needed in moderation. The recommendations are:
Children under 4 years: no guidelines but try to avoid foods/ drinks with added sugar
Children 4-6: should have up to 19g of free sugars a day
Children aged 7-10: should have up to 24g of free sugars a day
Adults: should have up to 30g of free sugars a day.
Free sugars are sugars that are in food and drinks. Although sugars that are naturally in foods such as fruits are good for you and you do not need to cut down on these types of sugars.
What are the other options to processed sugars?
Stevia also known as steviol glycosides, is a plant extract used as a natural sweetener. It helps add natural sweetness to products without the need to add sugar or any artificial sweetener.
There are many benefits to using stevia:
- It is a non-nutritive sweetener meaning it contains almost zero calories.
- Helps level your blood sugar levels, which is especially important for people with diabetes.
- Helps lower cholesterol with no negative side effects
Stevia can be used on any food or drink, just like sugar. A teaspoon of table sugar is equivalent to a pinch of stevia powder as stevia contains a lot more sweetness.
ViDrate decided that stevia for us and the brand moving forward was the best natural sweetener to choose for our products. We did thorough research and testing at the start of our journey, including trying ingredients like the ones mentioned below, but for us in the end, stevia was the best choice.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, sugar alcohols are a sugar alternative, which has less calories and is better for you than table sugar. Erythritol contains 0.24 calories per gram, and it does not raise blood sugar, cholesterol, triglyceride and insulin levels.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol and it has a similar taste to table sugar with less negative effects. It is found in fruit, vegetables, corn and birch wood. It contains 2.4 calories per gram and doesn’t raise blood sugar and insulin levels.
This is syrup, which is also known as Smallanthus Sonchifolius (some word that!), and is taken from the Yacon plant. It contains 1.3 calories per gram and has a thick consistency and a dark colour.
This sugar comes from the sap of the coconut plant. Coconut sugar is unfortunately the same amount of calories as regular sugar although it does contain small amount of nutrients and fibre but it is very similar to regular sugar.
Honey is a substance, which is produced by bees. It contains many antioxidants, which decreases chance of disease. Although it is still a sugar and contains but is natural!
Bad sweeteners – Avoid if at all possible!
This is a sweet brown liquid, which is made by boiling down sugar cane or sugar beet juice. This contains antioxidants, minerals and nutrients so its considered to be better than normal table sugar. However it is still a sugar so there isn’t much need to eat it rather than table sugar.
High fructose corn syrup
This is a sweetener made from corn syrup, which is normally used in fizzy drinks and processed foods. This is generally regarded as being equally as bad as normal sugar.
This sweetener contains more fructose than sugar and is made from the Agave plant.
Who should try to consume zero sugar?
There are two types of diabetes. With type 1, your body doesn’t make enough insulin, and you are normally diagnosed as a child or a young adult. Type 1 means you cannot make insulin as your immune system destroys cells in the pancreas. This means you need to inject insulin artificially.
You also do not get any insulin if you have type 2 diabetes - this is the most common type of diabetes. You get this type by eating too much sugar, and you typically develop it later in life.
People who are diabetic need to monitor their blood sugar levels closely and are typically recommended a low sugar diet. Which is why it’s important to research which sugar or sweetener alternatives are in the products they consume.
People who want to loose weight
Having a zero-sugar diet, is a lot healthier than if you include over the recommended amount of sugar in your everyday life. Every gram of sugar contains 4 calories and if you want to lose weight you should try to avoid this.
People who have tooth decay
If you want to prevent tooth decay you need to eat less foods that contain a high amount of sugar, such as sweets, chocolate and fizzy drinks. You can eat more of natural sugars as they are composed of a different chemical structure, and so are more beneficial to you. However, changing the structure by turning fruit into a smoothie, means that the sugar contained in the fruit can now cause more damage to teeth and increase the chances of tooth decay. You should also limit the amount of fruit juice to a maximum of 150ml a day, and reduce fizzy drinks as well. Dried fruit is also better for your teeth than normal fruit and especially as part of a meal.
Good and bad sugar
Natural sugars (also called simple sugars) are considered to be better for you as there is a structure to them but when sugars do not have a structure to have they eat as unhealthy sugars e.g. increase the chances of having tooth decay. Natural sugars are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, nut etc. This type of sugar normally has nutritional value. The other-processed sugar is seen as bad sugars and these have no nutritional value. This sugar also contributes to type two diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
The best thing to do for nutrition and for your teeth is to limit your processed sugar intake to a minimum and defiantly under the recommended amount. However to do this is to limit the amount of sugar in foods or drinks. ViDrate (a natural hydration powder) is especially good because it uses stevia instead of sugar so it makes water tasty and sweet without using additives and boasting zero sugar in the process… Win win! This also helps with health as feeling dehydrated often gets confused with hunger, but if you feel hydrated you won’t get those feelings confused.
So next time you are feeling a bit dehydrated, or simply need a sweet fix, why not have a ViDrate first rather than going to the kitchen cupboard for snacks! Give it a go!