Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Posted from WHFoods.org

Can you tell me more about the simple sugars known as monosaccharides?

Monosaccharides are the simplest of the simple sugars as they contain only one unit of sugar. Unlike the other carbohydrates, they don't require further breakdown during digestion, so when you eat a food containing monosaccharides, these sugars can be released from the food relatively quickly, get absorbed up into your body from your digestive tract, and, if necessary, be used by your body almost immediately for energy. Monosaccharides also taste sweet and increase the pleasure of food in that respect. Examples of monosaccharides include glucose, fructose, and galactose.
Because it's often helpful for our bodies to have readily available energy of this kind, monosaccharide-containing foods are important in our diet. Most of the World's Healthiest Foods that we profile on our website contain monosaccharides, and none of us would be able to remain healthy were it not for these simple sugars. You will notice, however, that we don't include many foods that are primarily composed of monosaccharides. An exception here would be honey, which consists primarily of the two monosaccharides glucose and fructose. But in all of our other foods, including our many World's Healthiest fruits, you will find monosaccharides integrated into a variety of other carbs, and, of course, many other types of nutrients that are essential for our health.
Organic honey is so unique, however, in some of its health-supportive properties, and such a delicious sweetener, that we believe it rightly belongs amongst the World's Healthiest Foods. As long as organic honey is used in moderation, we don't believe its unusually high monosaccharide content poses a problem.
The balance of monosaccharides, other types of carbs, and all non-carb nutrients in food is important. If we go overboard on monosaccharides or other types of simple sugars (like the disaccharide sucrose), we can make it more difficult for our body to regulate our blood sugar, and we can also fall victim to energy swings that work against our health. The most common way to go overboard on monosaccharides is to consume large amounts of processed food sweetened with glucose or high fructose corn syrup.

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