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Natural Sources of Sugar & Salt

By Jonathan VanDam

Many food items contain natural sources of sugar and salt. You can find natural sugar sources in such foods as honey, fruits, vegetables and milk. Components of salt also exist in many food items including celery, potatoes, lemons and tuna. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommend that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, or about a teaspoon of table salt, and limit sugar based on your daily calorie intake. The amount of sugar and salt found in food items depends on the source and how much of those foods you are eating.

Fructose

Fructose is a carbohydrate and a natural sugar found in fruits, honey and some vegetables. It occurs naturally in such foods as honey, raw apples, grapes, watermelons, tomatoes, bananas and raw pears. Common table sugar consists of equal amounts of glucose and fructose. Fructose is also called a simple sugar because it's one of the smallest units in its class of carbohydrates. Georgia State University calls fructose one of the most important simple sugars for human consumption. The amount of fructose varies in certain foods. For example, one tablespoon of honey contains nine grams of fructose per serving, whereas one medium-size raw apple contains 11 grams.

Lactose

Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk and milk products. You can find high amounts of lactose in one cup of whole milk, low-fat milk and ice cream. Lactose is also a byproduct in the manufacturing of cheese. Approximately four to six grams of lactose are found in one cup of low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese and sherbet. Elmhurst College notes that lactose occurs in 4 to 6 percent of cow’s milk and 5 to 8 percent of human’s milk. Food labels can help you detect the presence of lactose in certain foods with such words as lactose, whey, milk solids and margarine.

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Sodium

Most food items in their natural state contain sodium. MedlinePlus notes that the most common form of sodium is sodium chloride, which is table salt. Table salt consists of 40 percent sodium; the amount of sodium in foods can vary. Foods with naturally abundant amounts of sodium include tuna, pork, peanuts, potatoes, lemons, beets, milk and celery. Sodium helps your body function properly by assisting the muscles and nerves, and regulating blood pressure, among other functions. Too much sodium in your diet can factor into high blood pressure, stress and weight gain. Consider that one teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 milligrams of sodium, which is the daily recommend intake of this element for adults per day.

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