Health and wellness
The great sugar debate!
There are so many articles talking about what sugar does to the body, how it causes inflammation and how it can contribute to a plethora of health problems, and how it can actually feed cancer that we’ve found ourselves reading labels like crazy. And it seems like every week there’s a new discovery about what sugar can cause what problem. So what is the truth? What sugars cause the most trouble and how can we avoid them and still enjoy life, stay healthy and reduce inflammation? Do we also need to get rid of carbs, because we know that crabs can turn to sugar in our gut? Natural versus processed and does it matter?
Sugar is one of the most controversial ingredients in nutrition. I myself, have always had issues processing sugars, whether they come in the form of dairy, gluten or straight up processed goodies like pastries and candy (ugh..). I’ve had gut issues for many years because of a childhood riddled with ear infections, strep and antibiotics and now as an adult, my passion for a clean diet has brought me here, advocating for answers as to what is healthy and how we can live cleanly even while consuming our favorite foods.
Sugars are basically a classification of carbs. Once sugar is digested, it is absorbed in the form of glucose, and then our pancreas secretes the hormone insulin which gets the glucose and gets it to the cells to use as energy. That’s why some kids, who are ultra-sensitive to sugar, go crazy when they’ve had too much sugar, and then they have their crash. The same is true for carbs seen as healthy, such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, and buckwheat. The biggest difference is the speed with which this happens as the healthy alternatives are complex carbs. The idea that you should get rid of all carbs because you’re afraid of gaining a pound is absolutely absurd. You need carbs for fuel, and complex carbs, healthy carbs, provide us with great nutrition.
The flip side, if we eat too much bad sugar, the insulin will in turn convert and store excess glucose as fat in our bodies, and while insulin is present, our bodies can’t burn fat, giving us that hated pudge in our mid-section. Excess sugar can not only make us insulin resistant (which can lead to diabetes), cause inflammation, but also leptin resistant-leptin is what tells our bodies to burn fat and tells us when we are full.
So where do we go from here? When you see something that is ‘sugar free’ read the label. It will most likely have things like coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup. Those sugars are better than refined sugar, but, they are still sugar albeit much healthier. So what can we do? Everything in moderation. My rule, I try and stick to 25 grams of sugar a day, added sugar. When I bake, I use natural organic coconut sugar or applesauce, and when I have buckwheat pancakes, I use maple syrup as a treat. I don’t feel bloated and crappy as I would with refined sugar, I don’t get that sugar rush and I know it’s much healthier than the refined.
What’s scary is sugar is hidden in EVERYTHING now! It goes way beyond candy bars and cakes. And it’s given lovely new names like dextrose, maltodextrin, fruit juice concentrate, cane juice, etc. EEEEEK!
Learn to read labels on everything. Protect yourself and make sure this holiday season, you try and bake with more natural alternatives. There are tons of recipes online and I will be posting some here next week.
Enjoy the season and Namaste!!!