Friday, March 18, 2011

Define That Food! Dextrose...what is it?

So by now you know that it's National Nutrition Month, and I'm taking time to learn more about the ingredients that go into the packaged foods that I buy.  Last time, I examined Soy Lecithin.  Today, it's dextrose.

I knew right off the bat that dextrose was a sugar because pretty much anything that ends in "ose" is a sugar. Fructose, sucralose, glucose, etc. are all sugars.  Other ways that sugar may be listed on food labels are as any kind of syrup, honey, anything originating from a cane, molasses, evaporated cane juice, date sugar, beet sugar, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, granulated sugar, or xylitol.  And sometimes, it just says, "sugar."

Well it just so happens that I have a friend who writes nutrition text books!  Fancy that!  And she was so helpful after my post on Soy Lecithin and offered to help me define any other additive that I wanted to know about.  Mwhahahaha...she has no idea the Pandora's Box that she has opened!  I asked her about dextrose and here is what she told me:

Dextrose is chemically the same as glucose, which is a naturally-occuring sugar found in foods. The difference is that dextrose is processed primarily from corn and added to foods as a sweetener and bulking agent. So:

Glucose = natural sugar
Dextrose = processed sugar

Our bodies need sugar, as it is a primary source of energy for our day.  But, sugar doesn't have to come from processed foods.  You'd be much better off consuming glucose from nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, milk products, and whole grains, and not from sugar added for flavor and "bulking."  We have enough bulk in our country, don't you think?  Let's not add any more.

Dextrose is not dangerous for you as long as you limit your consumption. Your body is not going to process dextrose differently from glucose, but when you get sugar from foods that have naturally-occuring sugars (the colorful stuff)  instead of foods that have sugar added (the beige stuff), you also get the power punch of all the other nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and other good mojo that comes in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. 

In other words, eating whole foods gives you more bang for your sugar buck.  No news flash there, but its always nice to have a reminder.

Leave the bulking agent on the grocery store shelf!  And if you have a hankering to learn more about nutrition, check out my friend's book.  Thanks Sharon!  

Good day!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi,

i enjoy reading your blog. since you are doing different ingredients definitions, i was wondering if you could do one on mixed tocopherols? a lot of health foods seem to use it as a preservative, but i can't find much information about it that is in laymen's terms. just a thought. thanks. keep up the good work!

The (not so) Reluctant Athlete said...

Hi, thanks! I can definitely do some research on that and get the scoop for you...stay tuned and thanks so much for reading. :)

Health Whoop said...

Thanks for great post about dextrose.
well i think your research work makes great sense to me.
Regards
Garry

Anonymous said...

Nice content. I just lost weight using The 3 Week Diet: http://gg.gg/newyearweightloss and my own plan. I make smoothies everyday. One i make is a green smoothie with this: spinach, banana, ice, water, yogurt, and peanut butter. Fills me up and has helped me lose weight. I also walk everyday. soon I want to run. Took a month to lose weight. The 3 Weel Diet helped me better plan meals.

Anonymous said...

Nice content. I just lost weight using The 3 Week Diet: http://gg.gg/newyearweightloss and my own plan. I make smoothies everyday. One i make is a green smoothie with this: spinach, banana, ice, water, yogurt, and peanut butter. Fills me up and has helped me lose weight. I also walk everyday. soon I want to run. Took a month to lose weight. The 3 Weel Diet helped me better plan meals.