About 30 million people in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes. We know that diabetes is a disease marked by blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels being too high.
Glucose is our main source of energy. It comes from the foods you eat. A hormone called insulin helps the glucose get into your cells to provide energy.
If you have diabetes, your body doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't use insulin well enough. The glucose then stays in your blood and not enough gets into your cells.
If you’re one of the 88 million adults who are estimated to have pre-diabetes; you may have elevated blood glucose but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
But what if I don’t have any of these conditions but I’m just concerned about sugar?
In its natural state, sugar is a not-so-bad simple carbohydrate that our bodies need to function.
We Need Carbs (And Some Natural Sugar)
In fact, the three main nutrients that the human body needs for energy are carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Truth is, carbohydrate’s main function is to provide energy for the body. That being said, all carbs are not created equal.
Biochemists usually classify carbs in one of two categories, simple carbohydrates (known as sugars) and complex carbohydrates (known as fibers and starches).
To measure the impact of sugars and carbs on our body, scientists and nutritionists developed the glycemic index (GI), which assigns a number to each food depending on its ability to increase blood glucose levels. The lower the GI value of a carbohydrate, the less of an impact it has on blood sugar levels.
Foods with no carbs — such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, herbs, and spices — and specific food components (like protein and fat) aren’t listed on the glycemic index because they don’t have any carbohydrates.