Fruit Sugar vs. Added Sugar. What’s the Difference?
Ben McLean III has a master’s degree in Horticulture Science and a bachelor’s degree in Health Science from the University of Florida. He’s been the Head of Research at Uncle Matt’s Organic since 2003, and he’s also Uncle Matt’s older brother.
A lot of consumers want to know about sugar. Natural sugar, added sugar, fruit sugar, refined sugar, sucrose, fructose…what’s the big difference between each of these? Here’s Ben’s take on the sugar you’ll find in Uncle Matt’s Organic juices.
Q. What’s the difference between natural sugar and refined or added sugar?
A. Natural sugar comes from plants from the process of photosynthesis. This is when (the plants) make sugar and ultimately deposit it in the fruit that you consume. Your refined sugar comes from something like sugar cane, beets, or corn plant. Once produced by the plant it is refined in an industrial process and then added back into your beverage. This is where the term added sugar comes from.
Q. What is difference between sucrose and fructose?
A. In photosynthesis, glucose and fructose are what’s made inside of a plant. Sucrose is actually the combination of glucose and fructose into a two-sugar disaccharide molecule. Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides. They have the same formula of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen but they have a little bit of different bonding group in them.
Fructose is commonly thought of as your fruit sugar. In a lot of naturally occurring fruit and vegetable juices you’ll actually find parts of all three of these sugars. This balance is recognized by the body and enhances the mineral absorption of the fruit or the juice that you’re consuming.
Q. How does natural sugar affect glucose levels in the human body?
A. Natural sugars don’t affect glucose levels in the body as much as refined sugars or certain other refined foods like white bread or a white potato. They actually have what’s called a lower glycemic index meaning how quickly they spike the glucose levels to occur in your blood. One of the great things about orange juice is that it has a lower glycemic index than many people would realize.
Q. There are two juices with No Sugar Added labels – Uncle Matt’s Organic No Sugar Added Lemonade and Strawberry Lemonade. The company chose organic stevia to sweeten them. Can you tell us why organic stevia was chosen instead of other artificial sugar sources?
A. Stevia was chosen because it has a zero-calorie contribution and it’s from a botanical source. It’s an all-natural, very effective sweetener.
Q. Why is orange juice such a great vector for nutrient uptake?
A. In orange juice you have a balance of naturally occurring sugars – your glucose, your fructose and sucrose. They’re recognized by the body and so that enhances the absorption of the juice – all of the beneficial phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that come along with it.
Q. What makes OJ a great nutrient dense beverage over others?
A. Orange juice is a great nutrient dense beverage choice in that OJ comes packed with a rich portion of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Minerals such as potassium and magnesium, antioxidants such as hesperidin, and vitamins such as Vitamin C and other benefits such as folate. Orange juice comes packed with a whole lot of benefits and features that are absorbed into your body because of the natural sugars that are produced. Orange juice is just friendly to your body for its uptake.