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What are fast sugars?

  1. Good question! In this section, HealthNet will look for the answers to gnawing questions. This time: what are fast sugars?

  1. You may have come across the term 'fast sugars'. For example in an article with weight loss tips, in which you are advised to avoid fast sugars. But what kind of sugars are these exactly? When you talk about sugars, it is actually about carbohydrates. These are in all products that contain sugar or starch. There are carbohydrates in fruit, dairy, potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, soft drinks and cookies. Your body converts carbohydrates into fuel that you use, for example, to exercise and think.

Single or multiple

  1. There are different types of carbohydrates. Some of them consist of a single sugar molecule, called simple carbohydrates. Other carbohydrates consist of chains of two or more sugar molecules linked together. Those are multiple carbohydrates. If you eat something that contains multiple carbohydrates, enzymes in your saliva and the small intestine break down these carbohydrate chains into loose sugar molecules. Then those molecules mainly enter your bloodstream as glucose. This causes your blood sugar to rise.

Fast and slow

  1. The digestion of multiple carbohydrates takes longer than that of simple carbohydrates. As a result, more time elapses before multiple carbohydrates in the form of glucose are released into your blood. That is why we call them slow carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates enter your blood faster as glucose and are therefore also called fast sugars. Fast sugars are carbohydrates that enter your bloodstream quickly and make your blood sugar rise quickly.

Quick pull again

  1. If you eat something with fast sugars or fast carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels will rise rapidly. After that, your blood sugar level drops again quickly. This can make you feel hungry again soon. You get a boost from, for example, a piece of chocolate, but after that you feel like more sweets. Moreover, large fluctuations in your blood sugar are not good for your health. Slow carbohydrates do not produce those spikes in blood sugar. In addition, products with slow carbohydrates are often full of fiber. They give you a satiated feeling for a long time. Fast carbohydrates can be useful in endurance sports. For example, if you have been running or cycling for more than an hour and a half, the store of carbohydrates in your body will run out. You can replenish your energy with fast sugars.

What are they in?

  1. Fast carbohydrates are in: Sweets (sugar, sweet fillings, candy, cookies, cake, ice cream, honey). Beverages with sugar (soft drinks, fruit juice, smoothies with fruit). Potatoes. Products made from white flour (white bread, white pasta, white rice). Do you also have a good question? Send us an email.

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