If you haven’t heard it by now, you must have been living in a cave for the last few years. Sugar is bad for you. Actually, they say it’s the reason why you are obese, have diabetes, and are fueling the multi-billion dollar health industry. However, does that mean that the juicy, plump peach is the culprit? A large peach does have 15 grams of sugar per serving. Or is it the pint of ice-cream you just downed? After all, sugar is sugar, and your body breaks it down all the same- right?
Let’s logically think about this for a minute. There are different types of sugars and your body does process them differently. There are refined/artificial/processed sugars, and there are fruit sugars. And then, it’s all about how you consume the sugar.
Sugar from fruit is called fructose. It is a simple sugar that is metabolized quickly and easily by the body. Simple sugars, like fructose, are not a problem for people who are active and healthy. Fruits are staples of a healthy lifestyle and delightful to the senses. Of all the natural foods available, fruits are the most attractive, delicious and enjoyable. Taking from “Food Rules” by Micheal Pollan, “Eat sweets as you find them in nature.” Meaning eat the fruits whole, not processed or juiced. Fruit juice is often made from concentrate with added refined sugar and does not contain any fiber, which leaves you consuming more calories and unsatiated. Whole fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, fiber, and water.
People do not become overweight or unhealthy from eating fruit. It’s the other types of sugar, found in other places that is the contributing culprit.
Table sugar (refined sugar) comes from two primary sources: sugar cane (60%) and sugar beets (40%) in form of sucrose. Sugar refining is the process of extracting out the sugar (sucrose) from the plant materials and then removing other unwanted materials from the extracted raw sugar. In the repeated processes of washing, boiling, centrifuging, filtering and drying, nearly all of the plant’s nutritional elements are lost. What remains in this so called “raw sugar” product is 95% sucrose along with nutritionally insignificant minerals. If sanitized by steaming, this “raw sugar” can be marketed as turbinado. Turbinado sugar is just a couple of steps shy of the final bleaching process. Bleaching agents such as lime and carbon dioxide are added to make white crystals known as table sugar. The table sugar is then further “purified” and whitened by being filtered in a water-added liquid state through charcoal made from animal bones. This process removes even more minerals. “Pure” sugar refers to chemical purity, devoid of all nutritional and other elements, and not to a wholesome quality. Brown sugar is this table sugar that is turned brown by the reintroduction of molasses.
The Way We Consume Sugar
Refined sugar is in almost EVERY manufactured food product in the U.S. This sugar is, hands down, America’s number one food additive. Sugar is hidden in many of the things people buy at the supermarket. For instance, a tablespoon of ketchup contains a full teaspoon of sugar. Breads, soups, cereals, cured meats, hot dogs, lunch meat, salad dressings, spaghetti sauce, crackers, mayonnaise, peanut butter, pickles, frozen pizza, canned fruits and vegetables, tomato juice, and a host of other products all contain added sugar. Food that doesn’t even need the added refined sugar. The obvious offenders are desserts, candies, soft drinks, and ice-cream. People are consuming sugar without even knowing it! Be wise by avoiding processed food.
When you have sweet attack, reach for that piece of fruit instead of the more processed foods high in sugars and other carbohydrates. A well rounded diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and protein is the best bet for overall health.
Stay tuned for more on Sugar.
***I highly recommend you reading “Food Rules An Eater’s Manual” by Micheal Pollan. It will positively change your lifestyle. It’s super easy and fast to read.