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MONVISO ANSWERS

What are the main differences between fructose and sucrose?
Fructose and sucrose are carbohydrates with very different characteristics. Fructose is, in fact, a monosaccharide, while sucrose is a disaccharide, made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
Fructose, the main sugar of fruit and honey, differs from sucrose (extracted from sugar beet) due to two main properties: the glycaemic index (GI) and the sweetening power.
The GI estimates the capability of a food to raise the glycaemia when eaten; the increase in glycaemia induces the secretion of insulin, a very important hormone to monitor, especially in relation to the regulation of body weight and the stimulation of hunger. Comparing the two sugars, fructose has a GI of 23 against 57 in sucrose.
As regards sweetening power, that of fructose is 33% higher than that of sucrose. This means that the monosaccharide is the best choice for a correct diet, while remembering that fructose too must be consumed in moderation.

What is psyllium? What properties does it have?
Originally from the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East, psyllium is a herbaceous plant with flat leaves and small white flowers, the fruit of which is a capsule containing two small brown, flavourless and odourless seeds.
Psyllium is recommended for chronic constipation, as its seeds make it an effective natural laxative, thanks to the presence of mucilage which swells and increases in volume upon contact with water. Its seeds open up completely and produce a gel capable of increasing the quantity of faecal mass, softening the content. This lubricating effect makes it very useful also in the presence of haemorrhoids and anal tears, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diverticulitis, constipation during pregnancy and breast feeding, for children and people suffering with heart problems and in all cases in which it is not possible to take laxatives which cause aggressive peristalsis and muscle contractions.
Psyllium is also recommended in the presence of diarrhoea, colitis and all irritations of the gastroenteric walls.
Psyllium seeds also contain probiotic properties, strengthening your immune defences, improving intestinal efficiency and preventing cancers of the colon and rectum.
Psyllium seeds also help reduce the intestinal absorption of fats and sugars, reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and glycaemia in the blood.

Which foods contain the highest percentage of sodium?
The list of foods richest in sodium is quite extensive: kitchen salt, bread, cured meats and sausages, stock cubes, pickled vegetables, olives, sauces (including mustard, soy sauce, ketchup and mayonnaise), cheeses (including Provolone, Mozzarella and Parmesan), chips, biscuits, brioches and snacks and tuna in oil.
Scientific studies show how the consumption of salt on Italian tables is excessive and inform us that today’s diet supplies the body with much more sodium than it really needs.
Besides being naturally present in food and water (albeit in minimum quantities), sodium is added to the majority of industrial food conservation or preparation processes or to domestic preparations. It is estimated that over half the intake of sodium comes from additions made during the industrial preparation of food products, while a third comes from salt added during cooking or at the table.
The excess of sodium is very harmful to health: in fact, it induces an increase in blood pressure, favours osteoporosis and gastric disturbances (including ulcers) and is a possible cause of cancer of the stomach.

What is the main secrete to a low-sodium but tasty diet?
Adopting a healthy (and tasty) diet poor in salt is possible.
The recipe for giving up salt without diving up the pleasure of taste too is simple: adding flavour to foods with herbs and spices.
Basil, for example, is perfect for flavouring soups and salads; cinnamon is excellent for bread and snacks; dill is exquisite with fish and vegetables; ginger is ideal for meat; nutmeg is delicious with vegetables, meat and appetisers. And we mustn’t forget the exotic spices (including paprika, curry and saffron) and extremely versatile pepper (black, red, white or green)… with so many varieties, flavour is guaranteed!
Another alternative is represented by low-sodium salt, containing 75% less sodium than ordinary salt, or by diet salt, containing less sodium which should be used only following recommendation by a doctor. Salt with iodine (helpful to prevent or correct a lack of iodine) has the same sodium content, the same flavour and the same characteristics and ordinary salt: therefore, it should be consumed with the same moderation recommended for salt without iodine.


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