07/22/2019
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¿Qué nos engorda más, el azúcar o el edulcorante?

Salud La pregunta   Uno de ellos es mucho más nocivo que el otro y se podría prescindir de él. Muchos consideran que el principal enemigo para la salud es el azúcar. Para otros, sin embargo, son las

Salud

La pregunta

 

Uno de ellos es mucho más nocivo que el otro y se podría prescindir de él.

Muchos consideran que el principal enemigo para la salud es el azúcar. Para otros, sin embargo, son las grasas saturadas presentes en la mayoría de los alimentos. Entonces, ¿qué es peor, la grasa o el azúcar?

“Cuando comemos grasa, la hormona de la insulina se mantiene en reposo, en cambio el mecanismo que se origina es justamente el contrario cuando comemos azúcar, que sí estimula la salida de esa hormona. Lo que ocurre al estar la insulina en reposo es que la grasa que comemos y la que tenemos en nuestro cuerpo se va degradando como fuente de energía”. Así lo explicó la endocrinóloga María Alejandra Rodríguez Zía. Para ella, “el misterio está en no consumir azúcar o las cosas que producen el aumento de azúcar en sangre para que no se sintetice la grasa en el cuerpo”.

Lo que se conoce como azúcar en realidad es la sacarosa, que es un producto industrializado que en verdad tiene muy pocos elementos que conservó de la caña de azúcar y la remolacha, que es donde naturalmente se encuentra. Luego, la industria se encarga de hacer muchos procesos químicos hasta que quedan unos cristales con conservantes y blanqueadores formados por un disacárido (sacarosa) compuesto por glucosa y fructosa.

Entonces, ¿el azúcar es un alimento? El término “alimento” viene de su raíz del latín “aquello que ayuda a crecer, nutrir”, y el azúcar como tal lo que hace es ayudar a dar energía de una manera rápida. “El problema es que en nuestro cuerpo las cosas no funcionan tan simplemente y si consideramos al alimento como algo que nos hace crecer tenemos que contestar que el azúcar no es un alimento porque verdaderamente no genera estructuras en nuestro cuerpo”, explicó Rodríguez Zía, para quien “es importante hacer la diferencia: cuando hablamos de sustancias que nos dan energía y nos pueden ayudar a crecer ahí tenemos que hablar precisamente de las grasas”.

El azúcar puede ser un arma de doble filo. Por un lado, aporta calorías rápidas, da energía, pero por el otro, no produce ninguna estructura, es decir, no hace crecer. “Hay casos de desnutrición que pueden estar dados por personas que solo comen azúcar o los almidones que se transformarán en azúcar. Esto les da energía para sobrevivir, pero no pueden crecer ni desarrollarse, los niños especialmente, porque les faltan grasas, proteínas, minerales y vitaminas para su crecimiento. Desde ese punto de vista el azúcar no es un alimento”.

Rodríguez Zía diferenció: “Las grasas sí ayudan a producir energía y nos pueden ayudar a crecer y también estructuran nuestro cuerpo; el azúcar no. Solo produce un tipo de energía rápida o sencillamente se almacena como grasa. Podemos entonces vivir sin el azúcar. Y se puede conservar la salud sin el azúcar”. Cuando las empresas alimenticias venden sus productos con la etiqueta “bajos en grasa”, lo que hacen es eliminar la grasa pero añadir azúcar. Es 0% grasa, lo que no significa que engorde menos. “A muchos productos les disminuyen el porcentaje de grasa y al no tener un sabor agradable, les añaden azúcar en reemplazo. Que bajen el 20% de algún ingrediente no quiere decir que no le suban la cantidad de otro ingrediente”, especificó la especialista, quien agregó: “Desde los años 60 o 70 existe el mito de que la grasa engorda, entonces surgieron todos los alimentos con la etiqueta 0% grasa que, por supuesto, fueron aumentados en sus calorías en base a azúcar y sus derivados”.

A endulzar de manera natural

Según la especialista María Rodríguez Zía, “se deben consumir los alimentos tal como los da la naturaleza, es decir, frutos secos, frutas semidisecadas, fruta fresca, verduras, carnes, pescados, huevos; y evitar todo aquello que haya sido elaborado por la industria alimentaria. La diferencia con la industrializada es que esta pierde en el proceso los nutrientes, minerales y vitaminas”. Por eso, siempre es mejor lo natural.

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