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Sugar, Sugar, Everywhere

October 2020 - Nutrition

I’ll admit it! I’m a “sweet” lover. I love everything sweet; for years my love of refined, sugary foods had been the cause of many health issues. From body pain to foggy thinking – I knew my love of sweet foods were to blame.
Over the years I’ve slowly changed my highly processed and high sugar diet into one full of healthy whole foods. Yet, I haven’t removed all sugars! I’ve simply switched my favourite refined sugary treats for better sugars. My body thanks me every day. Gone are the blood sugar crashes, digestive issues, pain, and grumpiness. I can think clearly, I feel great, and I get to eat sweet things.

Is sugar really so bad?
White sugar and high-fructose corn syrup have been stripped of all of their trace minerals that the body needs to digest them properly. So the body is forced to steal from its nutrient resources. In particular, it steals B vitamins and magnesium – nutrients needed by the adrenal glands to handle and manage stress. So, a high intake of nutrient-sapping refined sugar can increase feelings of anxiety and can leave us feeling overwhelmed.

To top it off, refined sugar is frequently used in products that include low-fibre, refined white flour. This potent combo can send you for a trip on the blood sugar rollercoaster. It causes a spike in your blood sugar, leading to a blood sugar drop a few hours later. This drop in blood sugar ramps up our craving for more sweet foods. Satisfying this craving creates another spike… and another drop… and so on and so on. Unfortunately, many of our food decisions are made during these blood sugar drops. What tends to happen that instead of grabbing a healthy snack we reach for something fast, easy, and sweet instead. It’s a tough cycle to break, particularly if your first sweet treat is in the morning.

So… no sugar?
Life can be sweet! Take a look at your diet and find areas where you can switch refined sugar for whole sugar. Do you put sugar in your coffee? Try honey instead. Do you like brown sugar on your oatmeal? Maple syrup is a healthier alternative and tastes fantastic! Once you do it, you’ll feel better, have steady energy, and you won’t even think about going back to refined sugar.

Refined Sweets

White & Brown Sugar
These sugars are made from sugar cane or sugar beet and have been highly refined and stripped of all nutrients. Brown sugar has been refined as well, but some of the molasses removed in the processing is added back in. Sugar beet is also highly genetically modified.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
This highly refined sugar is made in a lab behind closed doors. Very few people know how this sugar is processed, and due to its very cheap price it has been added to all sorts of foods: from drinks to yogurts, and seemingly “healthy” processed foods too. hfcs been linked to weight gain, diabetes, and liver issues. Stay away from this ingredient!

Agave Syrup
Most of the agave syrup on the market is highly refined and very high in fructose. The level of fructose is so high (up to 90% fructose) that it can easily cause weight gain and liver issues. This is not a sugar I recommend.

Artificial Sweeteners
Research is finding a link between these sugars and metabolic issues. They’ve even been linked to even greater weight gain than refined white sugar! Be especially careful when these sweeteners are added to drinks.

Healthy Sweets

Fruit
Our body loves fruit when its eaten in its whole form. Fruit is full of vitamins and antioxidants and the fibre slows down the release of the naturally occurring fructose.

Honey
Raw, local honey is a very healthy and healing food. Unprocessed and low in fructose, it won’t cause the liver issues agave and other fructose sugars can. It also has anti-viral properties and works wonderfully on a stubborn cough.

Maple Syrup
This whole sugar is wonderful on oatmeal and other breakfast whole grains, and contains all of the trace minerals needed to be properly digested.

Sucanut
Sucanut is unrefined cane sugar. It’s a great substitute to use in any recipe that calls for white or brown sugar. It has the same flavour, but is unrefined!

Coconut Sugar
New on the market and quite popular, this sugar is easy to use in all recipes and won’t cause blood sugar fluctuations.

Stevia
This is a natural low calorie sweetener made from the stevia leaf – a plant you could grow in your own backyard! It’s as natural as natural can be. People tend to have a love or hate relationship with stevia due to its slight licorice flavour. For some it tastes bitter, yet for others it’s their favourite sweetener to use in tea or coffee.

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