We all need a little sweetness from time to time, and while a spoonful of sugar may not seem like it contains many calories, it is hard to determine how much is added to our favorite foods.
Being aware of cooking conversion rates can help you determine how much sugar is in certain foods, and how many calories it has added to them.
Ingredient lists are usually listed in grams, and this can make it tricky to determine how much of something has been added to what you’re eating, and how many calories are in it.
This article is going to help you understand how many calories are in two tablespoons of sugar, as well as discuss the different types of sugars, and how you can substitute them for other sweeteners that aren’t as taxing for your health.
Before we delve into the world of sugar, let’s figure out how many calories are in two tablespoons of sugar.
We can begin to do this by converting grams to calories. 1 gram of sugar contains around 4 calories on it.
4 grams of sugar, equates to a teaspoon of sugar and is therefore around 16 calories.
However, there are roughly 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon, which amounts to 12 grams of sugar. 12 grams of sugar, equates to around 50 calories.
Therefore, in 1 tablespoon of sugar, there are 50 calories, so in 2 tablespoons of sugar, you can expect to find 100 calories.
These figures show that sugar is pretty calorific, and some food items use several tablespoons of sugar, meaning that you are taking in quite a lot of calories.
Sugar that ends up being mixed into processed foods is labeled as ‘added sugar’, and can be in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, maltose, or evaporated juice.
Refined Vs Natural Sugar
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that is digested by the body in order to provide it with energy.
Natural sugars are the sugars found in fruits, and in dairy products such as milk and cheese.
These natural sugars provide the body with essential nutrients and can prevent the body from developing certain diseases.
Refined sugar, on the other hand, comes from sugar canes or sugar beets. These are processed in order to extract the sugar.
Refined sugars are used in several foods such as cookies, cereals, and cakes to name a few.
Interestingly, foods that are labeled ‘low-fat’, tend to have the most refined sugar, as more is included in order to add flavor.
Many processed foods add refined sugars, and these add extra calories to our diet. The difference with natural sugars is that there are important nutrients in them that are beneficial for our bodies.
How Your Body Metabolizes Sugar
How the body metabolizes refined, and natural sugars differ drastically.
Refined sugars are broken down by the body very quickly, giving you energy, but a spike in blood sugar levels. This is usually followed by an energy crash.
These sugars also won’t leave you feeling full for too long, and can lead to you eating more of them later on, which should be avoided if you are trying to watch your weight.
Natural sugars, from fruits, for example, pass through your system a lot slower. This gives you more sustained energy, and makes its way into the gut, where it expands, leaving you fuller for longer.
However, even if you’ve done your best to consume only natural sugars, how much sugar is already in your bloodstream, will determine how your body processes it.
If you already have a lot of sugar in your body, then it will either form fat, or glycogen (energy).
Brown Sugar Vs White Sugar
Many people turn to brown sugar as a ‘healthy’ alternative. However, their nutritional value is pretty similar.
Brown sugar tends to be a mix of white sugar and molasses, which is a syrup derived from sugar. This is what is responsible for the brown color.
There are a few more nutrients in brown sugar, such as potassium, iron, and calcium, but studies have shown that the amount of these is very little in brown sugar, making them almost irrelevant.
Brown sugar does contain slightly fewer calories than white sugar, but again, the difference is minuscule.
The main difference lies in taste and color.
Healthy Sugar Alternatives
Reducing your sugar intake where you can is extremely beneficial to the body, so below are a few healthy sugar alternatives.
Stevia is a very popular sugar alternative. It is a natural sweetener and comes from the leaves of the shrub Stevia rebaudiana.
This alternative does not contain any calories and is much sweeter than refined sugar.
Research has shown that using stevia as opposed to refined sugar can help people lose weight and reduce blood sugar levels.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
Like stevia, monk fruit does not contain any calories and is a lot sweeter than sugar.
It is derived from the Siraitia grosvenoril plant, a plant that originated in China.
It is also an alternative that can promote weight loss and lower blood sugar levels, but it can often be combined with other sweeteners, so you should always read the label carefully before buying.
Honey is another popular sweetener that has several anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
It is produced by honeybees and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar, so is a much healthier option.
However, honey should be enjoyed in moderation, because it still contains sugar and calories.
In summary, refined sugar is relatively high in calories, as is brown sugar.
Consuming too much sugar can be detrimental to your health, so it is important to cut down on sugar, or introduce healthy alternatives when, and where you can.
Some of these alternatives include stevia, honey, and monk fruit sweetener. These are all natural forms of sugar, and aside from honey, they don’t contain any calories.
This makes them a great option if you are trying to watch your weight.
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