Sunday, November 13, 2016

There are different kinds of sugar, starting with simple sugars (called monosaccarides) like glucose, fructose, and galactose. Then there are also more complex forms (called disaccharides) like sucrose, maltose, and lactose.  

 A few naturally occurring sugars:

Glucose:  occurs naturally in plants and fruits, and is a by-product of photosynthesis. In our bodies glucose can be burned as energy or converted into glycogen (liver and muscle fuel). Our bodies can actually produce glucose when needed.
Fructose:  is a fruit sugar, occurring naturally in fruit!  It also occurs naturally in cane sugar and honey, and is sweet.
Sucrose:  found in the stems of sugar cane, the roots of sugar beet, and can be found naturally alongside glucose in certain fruits and other plants.
Lactose:  milk sugar. This is something that is created as result of a process occurring in our bodies.
Children possess the enzyme necessary to break down the molecule into lactose to be used by the body, while some adults don’t. These are the lactose intolerant folks.

When you consume sugar, your body has two options, depending on your genetic predisposition on how to deal with it: Burn it for energy. Convert to fat and store it in your fat cells. Along with making you fat, sugar consumption has been implicated in a litany of crimes, including contributing to an increased chance of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, macular degeneration, renal failure, chronic kidney disease, and high blood pressure.    


The Glycemic Index is the calculation of how quickly a particular type of food increases one’s blood sugar level, on a scale from 1-100 (100 being pure glucose). Foods like white bread, French fries, and other simple carbohydrates have nearly identical effects on our blood sugar as glucose. Generally, the more refined (processed) the food, the faster in converts to sugar in our body for processing.  


When you consume fruit, you are not only consuming fructose (in its natural state), but also consuming fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals. Yes, fruit can have an effect on your blood sugar because IT IS SUGAR! But fruit will cause less of a blood sugar spike compared to nutrient-void table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Consume fruit that has a low glycemic index/glycemic load to reduce blood sugar spikes and insulin secretion. Consume organic fruit when possible.  


There are a few primary sugar alternatives:

Honey - The appeal of honey is that it’s not just fructose or glucose, but a mixture of all sorts of compounds, minerals, and more. Overall, honey improves blood lipids, lowers inflammatory markers, and has minimal effect on blood glucose levels.
Agave Nectar:  Unfortunately, despite the fact that it comes from a cactus (which is natural!), this stuff is so processed and refined, and contains an absurd amount of refined fructose (90% fructose and 10% glucose).
Aspartame:  Many people have switched to diet soda because they heard regular soda can be bad for you.   90% of diet sodas out there contain aspartame, a laboratory-created sugar alternative. NutraSweet also contains aspartame and should be avoided.
Sucralose:  An artificial sweetener that is non-caloric as the body struggles to break it down.  Sucralose is approximately 600 times as sweet as sucrose (table sugar), and thus can be consumed in smaller quantities to get the same desired “sweet” effect as sugar.  Sucralose is available in things like protein powders, Splenda, and other products reliant upon remaining low-sugar or low-carb.  Allegedly, sucralose has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels.
Stevia:  A naturally occurring sweetener from the Sunflower family.  It is approximately 300 times sweeter than table sugar, and allegedly has a lower effect on blood glucose levels.
Saccharin:  Another artificial sweetener, created back in the late 1890s, is much sweeter than table sugar and is consumed at lower quantities.  It was linked to increased risk of cancer within laboratory rats and labeled as dangerous by the US, though this label was removed in 2000 due to the fact that the results couldn’t be replicated in humans.  That being said, more studies need to be conducted. 


Discover how much sugar is in your food by doing these simple checks:  Look at the 'carbs as sugars' on the nutrition panel. This includes both natural and added sugars; less than 5g per 100g is low, more than 15g per 100g is high.
  Check the ingredients list for anything ending in 'ose' (glucose, sucrose, fructose, lactose, maltose) - these are all forms of sugar, as are honey, agave, molasses and syrups like corn and rice syrup. The higher up the ingredients list, the more sugar the product contains.

Know your substitutes, for example, xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol. These occur naturally in small amounts in plants and fruits and are often used in low-calorie products to provide sweetness but with fewer calories. Xylitol can be used in home-baking as a replacement for regular sugar (ratio 1:1) although it won't brown as much and it can't be used where yeast is the raising agent.

Here’s a quick list of what sugar can be listed as on a label:

Agave nectar
Brown sugar
Cane crystals
Cane sugar
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup
Crystalline fructose
Evaporated cane juice
Organic evaporated cane juice
Fructose Fruit juice concentrates
Glucose High-fructose corn syrup
Honey Invert sugar
Maltose Malt syrup
Molasses Raw sugar
Sucrose Sugar Syrup 

WHY DO THEY CHANGE THE NAME OF SUGAR?  Because nutritional labels are required by law to list their most prominent ingredients first. By putting two or three different types of sugar in the food (and calling them each a different name), they can spread out the sugar across three ingredients and have it show up much further down the list!   

To your health,


This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, or replace mainstream medical mumbo jumbo.

IIN/M. Taylor/used with permission and edited by me. Peace and good health.
All Rights Reserved.