If there are Good Fats & Bad Fats, then are there Good Sugars & Bad Sugars?
This is a good question, and while there ARE better sugars than other sugars (keep reading to find out more), how sugar affects us is key to understanding the difference between sugars and why we should totally eliminate certain sugars.
Food is the main means by which the body is able to fuel all the bodily processes (such as regenerating cells & generating energy) so we need to be selective in what we eat if we want to stay healthy. Food can be our friend . . . or our nemisis. There is some research that indicates that certain foods contribute to inflammation (sugar/red meat) while other foods can help reduce inflammation (green vegetables).
Besides cutting out sugar totally, read on to find out how to minimise damage to your health from sugar.
Unfortunately, all those yummy chocolate biscuits that I ADORE do not effectively fuel my body. In fact, sugar not only has ZERO nutritional value, sugar actually costs my body to process it.
Sugar brings none of its own vitamins or minerals, so it relies on the body’s reserves to metabolize it, meaning we use up our reserves of vitamins and minerals to process sugar in our bodies. Calcium, for example, is used to neutralize the effects of sugar and the depletion of it can lead to osteoporosis.
Sugar also forces our pancreas to produce insulin to control how much sugar gets into our blood. Too much insulin and our cells become immune to insulin (insulin-resistant), meaning our body has to produce even higher levels of insulin to get the same result. But our insulin stock piles are limited, we can only produce so much insulin, which means when the insulin runs out, the sugar in our blood shoots up and diabetes occurs. Sugar is a time bomb.
Are all sugars harmful?
In high quantity, yes. Some sugars are less destructive (those found in fruits and vegetables for example), but be particularly aware of those masquerading as health food, i.e:
- raw sugar (which simply means unbleached sucrose or table sugar),
- brown sugar (which is generally white sugar with molasses),
- fructose (generally a fruit sugar, but can be corn syrup in America),
- maple syrup (is no different from white sugar in how your body processes it although it may contain minerals – especially manganese and zinc), and
- unprocessed honey, (though marginally better because it’s unprocessed, and certain honeys may have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, still raises blood sugar and can still cause havoc).
The main SUGAR to AVOID at all costs:
But the Sugar that everyone is agreeing that we all need to AVOID is a processed Sugar called various names in various countries, including:
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (in America),
- Glucose-Fructose (in Canada),
- Isoglucose, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Fructose-Glucose Syrup, or High Fructose Maize Syrup (in Europe).
This is, in agreement with all nutritional therapists, the sugar to AVOID.
“Is high fructose syrup really that bad for you?”
The answer to this question is “Yes”. The Americans are eating high doses of high fructose corn syrup and it shows in their health and body weight index. In America it is sweeter and cheaper than regular sugar and therefore is in every processed food and sugar-sweetened drink. The main reason you should give up high fructose corn syrup (or glucose-fructose or any other similar processed sugar product ) is that it’s like waving a big RED flag that says ‘this is sub-standard food’. If you see this ingredient on a label then that food is processed junk, so put it back on the shelf. You should never eat food containing that ingredient.
Sugar & Carbohydrates
The huge rise in blood sugar that accompanies a meal or snack of highly refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, French fries, sugar-laden soda, etc.) increases levels of inflammation. Eating whole-grain bread, brown rice, and other whole grains smooths out the after-meal rise in blood sugar and insulin, and dampens the spike in blood sugar levels.
Some of the lesser known effects of sugar:
Depletion of vitamins and minerals: Sugar brings none of its own vitamins or minerals, so it relies on the body’s reserves to metabolize it, meaning we use up our reserves of vitamins and minerals to process sugar in our bodies. Calcium, for example, is used to neutralize the effects of sugar and the depletion of it can lead to osteoporosis.
Depressed immune system: Sugar creates destructive bacteria that hangs out in our intestines. Our immune system resides largely in our gut and the more bad bacteria that it has to get rid of, the harder it is for the immune system to fight disease.
Inflammation: High levels of sugar depletes cells of their energy. Cells that are depleted of energy become inflamed. Sugar is strongly associated with inflamed intestines and irritable bowel syndrome, but high levels lead to chronic inflammation throughout the body.
Heart disease: Chronically inflamed blood vessels lead to heart attacks. Fat storage: Excess insulin prevents our cells from using fat for fuel.
Hyper-active response: The more sugar we allow in, the more our body gets stressed by it and over-reacts to the invaders’ arrival.
EASY, POSITIVE CHANGES TO REDUCE INFLAMMATION & BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Promote produce. The more fruits and vegetables you eat, the lower the burden of inflammation. Why? They contain hundreds, perhaps thousands, of substances that squelch inflammation-rousing free radicals; some act as direct anti-inflammatory agents.
Go nuts. Adding walnuts, peanuts, almonds, and other nuts and seeds to your snacks and meals is another tasty way to ease inflammation.
Cocoa lovers rejoice? In laboratory studies, cocoa and dark chocolate slow the production of signaling molecules involved in inflammation. The trick is to get them without too much sugar and fat.
Alcohol in moderation. A drink a day seems to lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a powerful signal of inflammation. Too much alcohol has the opposite effect on CRP.
Spice it up. Herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, basil, pepper, and many others have anti-inflammatory properties.
Mark Hyman, MD http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/high-fructose-corn-syrup_b_4256220.html