What Is Refined Sugar?

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What Is Refined Sugar?: In the final decade, intense focus has been positioned on sugar and its detrimental health results.

Refined sugar intake is linked to conditions like weight problems, sort 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Yet, it’s found in a spread of foods, making it particularly difficult to keep away from.

Moreover, it’s possible you’ll surprise how refined sugars examine to pure ones, and whether or not they have related health results.

This article discusses what refined sugar is, the way it differs from pure sugar, and the right way to minimize your intake.

How is refined sugar made?

Sugar is of course found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and even nuts and seeds.

This pure sugar could be extracted to supply the refined sugar at the moment so ample in the food provide. Table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are two common examples of refined sugars created this way.

Table sugar

sweet pastries in a box

Table sugar, also often called sucrose, is often extracted from sugar cane plants or sugar beets.

The sugar manufacturing course of begins with washing the sugar cane or beets, slicing them, and soaking them in hot water, which permits their sugary juice to be extracted.

The juice is then filtered and was a syrup that’s further processed into sugar crystals which are washed, dried, cooled, and packaged into the desk sugar found on supermarket cabinets (1).

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a sort of refined sugar. The corn is first milled to make corn starch and then further processed to create corn syrup (1).

Enzymes are then added, which will increase the content material of the sugar fructose, in the end making the corn syrup taste sweeter.

The most common sort is HFCS 55, which contains 55% fructose and 42% glucose — one other form of sugar. This percentage of fructose is much like that of desk sugar (2Trusted Source).

These refined sugars are sometimes used so as to add flavor to foods but can also act as a preservative in jams and jellies or assist foods like pickles and breads ferment. They’re also usually used so as to add bulk to processed foods like comfortable drinks and ice cream.


Refined sugar is made by extracting and processing the sugar naturally found in foods like corn, sugar beets, and sugar cane. This refined sugar is then added to foods for various functions, including to boost flavor.

Many negative health results

Sugars like desk sugar and HFCS are added to various foods, including many who you wouldn’t suspect contain sugar. Thus, they could sneak into your diet, selling a range of detrimental health effects.

For instance, consuming large amounts of refined sugar, especially in the shape of sugary beverages, has constantly been linked to weight problems and extra belly fat, a risk issue for conditions like diabetes and heart disease (3Trusted Source4Trusted Source5Trusted Source).

In explicit, foods enriched with HFCS could cause you to turn into resistant to leptin, a hormone that indicators your body when to eat and when to cease. This could partly clarify the link between refined sugar and weight problems (6Trusted Source).

Many studies also affiliate diets high in added sugars with increased heart disease risk (7Trusted Source).

Additionally, diets rich in refined sugar are generally linked to the next risk of sort 2 diabetes, depression, dementia, liver disease, and certain types of most cancers (8Trusted Source9Trusted Source10Trusted Source11Trusted Source).


Refined sugars could increase your risk of weight problems, sort 2 diabetes, and heart disease. They’re also linked to the next probability of depression, dementia, liver disease, and certain types of most cancers.

Refined vs. pure sugars

For a number of causes, refined sugars are typically worse on your health than pure sugars.

Foods rich in refined sugars are sometimes closely processed

Refined sugars are sometimes added to foods and beverages to improve taste. They’re thought-about empty calories as a result of they contain just about no vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, fiber, or different helpful compounds.

Moreover, refined sugars are generally added to packaged foods and drinks, such as ice cream, pastries, and soda, all of which are usually closely processed.

In addition to being low in nutrients, these processed foods could be rich in salt and added fat, each of which may hurt your health when consumed in high amounts (12Trusted Source13Trusted Source14Trusted Source).

Natural sugars are normally found in nutrient-rich foods

Sugar is of course found in many foods. Two popular examples include lactose in dairy and fructose in fruit.

From a chemistry perspective, your body breaks down pure and refined sugars into equivalent molecules, processing each equally (15Trusted Source).

However, pure sugars sometimes happen in foods that present different helpful nutrients.

For instance, not like the fructose in HFCS, the fructose in fruit comes with fiber and a spread of vitamins, minerals, and different helpful compounds.

The fiber helps slow how quickly the sugar enters your bloodstream, reducing your probability of blood sugar spikes (16Trusted Source17Trusted Source).

Similarly, lactose in dairy is of course packaged with protein and various levels of fat, two nutrients also recognized to assist prevent blood sugar spikes (18Trusted Source19Trusted Source20Trusted Source).

Moreover, nutrient-rich foods seemingly make a higher contribution towards your each day nutrient wants than foods rich in refined sugars.


Natural sugars are likely to happen in foods rich in fiber, protein, and different health-promoting nutrients and compounds, making them extra helpful than refined sugars.

Not all pure sugars are equally good

Though pure sugars are typically thought-about extra helpful than refined sugars, this doesn’t hold true in all circumstances.

Natural sugars can also be processed in a way that removes just about all of their fiber and a good portion of their different nutrients. Smoothies and juices are good examples of this.

In their whole type, fruits provide chewing resistance and are loaded with water and fiber.

Blending or juicing them breaks down or removes nearly all of their fiber, in addition to any chewing resistance, which means you seemingly require a bigger portion to really feel glad (21Trusted Source22Trusted Source).

Blending or juicing also removes some of the vitamins and helpful plant compounds naturally found in whole fruits (21Trusted Source23Trusted Source).

Other popular kinds of pure sugars include honey and maple syrup. These seem to supply extra benefits and barely extra nutrients than refined sugars.

However, they continue to be low in fiber and rich in sugar and should be consumed only in moderation (24Trusted Source25Trusted Source26Trusted Source27Trusted Source).


Natural sugars found in smoothies and juices received’t be as helpful as these found in whole foods. Maple syrup and honey are sometimes seen as sources of pure sugars but should only be consumed in moderation.

How to keep away from refined sugar

Refined sugars are added to many packaged foods. Therefore, checking food labels could be instrumental in reducing the amount of refined sugar in your diet.

A vast array of names can be utilized to label added sugar. The most common are high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, cane juice, rice syrup, molasses, caramel, and most ingredients ending in -ose, such as glucose, maltose, or dextrose.

Here are some classes of foods that always harbor refined sugars:

  • Beverages: comfortable drinks, sports activities drinks, specialty coffee drinks, energy drinks, Vitaminwater, some fruit beverages, and so on.
  • Breakfast foods: store-bought muesli, granola, breakfast cereals, cereal bars, and so on.
  • Sweets and baked goods: chocolate bars, sweet, pie, ice cream, croissants, some breads, baked goods, and so on.
  • Canned goods: baked beans, canned vegetables and fruit, and so on.
  • Bread toppings: fruit purées, jams, nut butters, spreads, and so on.
  • Diet foods: low-fat yogurts, low-fat peanut butter, low-fat sauces, and so on.
  • Sauces: ketchup, salad dressings, pasta sauces, and so on.
  • Ready-made meals: pizza, frozen meals, mac and cheese, and so on.

Eating fewer of these processed foods and choosing whole, minimally processed ones instead will assist reduce the amount of refined sugars in your diet.

You can further lower your intake by reducing your use of sweeteners like desk sugar, agave syrup, brown sugar, rice syrup, and coconut sugar.


Refined sugars are added to many processed foods. Checking food labels and reducing your intake of these foods will assist limit the amount of refined sugars in your diet.


  1. Sweet Satisfaction: Refined sugar is like a magician casting a spell on our taste buds – it’s the secret ingredient that turns bland into bliss and makes life a little sweeter.
  2. Baking Buddy: Refined sugar is the baking MVP – it’s like the trusty sidekick that helps cakes rise, cookies crisp, and pies caramelize to golden perfection.
  3. Instant Energy Boost: Need a pick-me-up? Refined sugar is like a lightning bolt to the system – it zaps us with a surge of energy faster than you can say “caffeine.”
  4. Preservation Power: Refined sugar is a natural preservative – it’s like the guardian angel of canned fruits and jellies, keeping them fresh and delicious for months on end.
  5. Culinary Creativity: Refined sugar is the artist’s palette of the kitchen – it’s like a rainbow of sweetness, allowing us to create masterpieces with every sprinkle and swirl.
  6. Comfort Companion: Feeling down? Refined sugar is like a warm hug for the soul – it’s the ultimate comfort food that soothes our sorrows and lifts our spirits.
  7. Celebration Catalyst: Refined sugar is the life of the party – it’s like the friend who shows up with a bottle of champagne and a confetti cannon, ready to turn any gathering into a celebration.


  1. Empty Calories: Refined sugar is a master of deception – it’s like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, masquerading as a sweet treat while offering little to no nutritional value.
  2. Sugar Crash: What goes up must come down – after the initial sugar rush wears off, we’re left feeling like deflated balloons, sluggish and craving another fix.
  3. Dental Disaster: Refined sugar is the enemy of dentists everywhere – it’s like a tiny army of cavity-causing demons, wreaking havoc on our pearly whites with every sip of soda and bite of candy.
  4. Weighty Woes: Refined sugar is a sneaky saboteur of waistlines – it’s like a stealthy ninja, silently adding inches to our hips and pounds to our scales without us even realizing it.
  5. Blood Sugar Rollercoaster: Refined sugar sends our blood sugar levels on a wild ride – it’s like a rollercoaster with steep drops and sharp turns, leaving us feeling dizzy and out of control.
  6. Addiction Alley: Refined sugar is as addictive as a carnival game – once we start, it’s hard to stop, with cravings pulling us back for another hit like a magnet to metal.
  7. Inflammation Instigator: Refined sugar fuels inflammation in the body – it’s like adding fuel to the fire, aggravating conditions like arthritis and making every joint ache like it’s auditioning for a part in a bad horror movie.

In the saga of refined sugar, the pros may seem sweet, but the cons are bitter pills to swallow. So, next time you reach for that sugary snack, remember to tread carefully – for every moment of bliss, there’s a sugar crash waiting just around the corner!

The bottom line (What Is Refined Sugar?)

Refined sugar is obtained by extracting pure sugar from foods like sugar cane, sugar beets, or corn. It’s typically added to nutrient-poor, processed foods, which may hurt your health when eaten in large portions.

In distinction, pure sugars are sometimes found in whole foods. These are naturally rich in protein or fiber, two nutrients that assist your body course of these sugars in a more healthy way.

They’re also sometimes rich in vitamins, minerals, and helpful plant compounds.

That said, not all pure sugars are created equal, and these found in juices, smoothies, and natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup should be consumed in moderation.

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