6 Reasons To Eat Low Sugar Foods

NutitionScience_14You might have seen that all health magazines and portals advocate eating low sugar foods for health. Why all this hue and cry over low sugar foods? Foods low in sugar is invariably rich in other nutrients and high on health quotient. Whole grain cereals, whole pulses, fruits and vegetables (yes, fruits too are low to moderate in sugar content compared to highly refined foods like white rice or bread) and lean proteins such as egg whites.

Here we take a look at what the health index of low sugar foods looks like.

Low glycemic index

Foods low in simple sugar have a low “glycemic index” (i.e., the  extent to which a particular food raises the blood sugar level in comparison to a standard food such as glucose ). Eating low GI foods have been found to be beneficial in controlling weight, sugar levels and cholesterol management. Foods low in GI includes whole grain cereals with the outer bran, most fruits, and whole pulses.

Prevent oxidative damage

Oxidative damage is what is believed to be responsible for chronic degenerative diseases and secondary complications in diabetes.  Studies have shown increased levels of oxidative stress in diabetics and low levels of protective antioxidants. This damage is caused by “free radicals” that are released during normal digestion process in the body, as well as from pollutants in the air, chemicals, smoking and junk food.

Free radicals produced and their consequent damage are reduced by nutrient antioxidants present in low sugar foods such as vitamin C,  vitamins E, carotene and selenium and non-nutrients such as polyphenols, flavanol and enzymes such as catalase and super-oxide dismutase.

Improved blood flow

Flavonoids in citrus fruits and vegetables in addition to possessing antioxidant activity also have beneficial effects on blood flow, an important factor in diabetes, since poor circulation is concomitant with diabetes.

Fight cancer cells

Carotenoids, found in yellow and orange fruits decrease risk of cancer, enhance skin health and improve immune function.

Lycopene, found in tomatoes, pink guava watermelon, red papaya is a powerful antioxidant which has anti cancer activity.

Increased insulin sensitivity

Chromium, an essential micronutrient, is found in most foods low in sugar such as whole grains, nuts and pulses is believed to play a role in insulin resistance.  Insulin resistance is when cells are unable to take in insulin produced by pancreas because they become resistant to it (due to high amounts of fat deposit or a sedentary lifestyle).  Chromium increases the ability of cells to take up insulin, thereby lowering blood sugar levels.  About 3 servings of fruits such as apple, grapes or orange should provide one third day’s requirements of chromium.

High on fiber

Additionally, low sugar foods such as whole grain oats, pulses, cereals, fruits and vegetables are also rich in soluble and insoluble fiber which is important to maintain healthy digestion, and reduce cholesterol and sugar levels. Fiber is also a proven factor in prevention of colon cancer and conditions such as diverticulitis.

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