Sugar tastes good and most of us have eaten white granulated sugar all of our lives, but why is it bad for us? While our cells certainly use glucose for fuel, on a regular basis we consume far more sugar than we could ever use for fuel and therein lies the problem.
We are consuming a lot more sugar than we think because it is hidden (under a multitude of synonyms) in the foods we buy off the supermarket shelves every day and for good reason… food manufacturers know it’s addictive!
Don’t believe me? Then watch this YouTube video where a 60 Minutes Reporter does an Expose on Sugar with Dr Sanjay Gupta
To further exasperate the problem, sugar activates the reward centres our brains much the same as highly addictive drugs like cocaine, which in turn causes cravings… in short we become addicted! Keep an eye out for the section of the video where they do brain scans on the reporter while he sips a sugary soda… very interesting!
Furthermore, in a 2010 Princeton University study, researchers found that rats given water sweetened with HFCS gained significantly more weight than those given water sweetened with plain sugar, despite calorie intake being the same between both groups.
Princeton researchers also noted that in addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating triglycerides (blood fats).
There are many more dangers to over-consumption of sugar but here are a few to get you thinking:
- Bad for your teeth (we all know this one).
- Provides “empty” calories with NO nutritional value.
- Creates acid ash, which makes your blood acidic.
- Sugar lowers your immunity and robs your bones of minerals.
- Linked to Osteoporosis.
- Can cause arthritis.
- Contributes to Obesity.
- Contributes to Diabetes.
- Raises your blood sugar level.
- Gives you a temporary high but then robs you of energy.
- Promotes wrinkling and premature aging of the skin.
- Is highly addictive and can lead to binge eating.
- Weakens eyesight.
- Can cause hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels).
- Can contribute to eczema.
- Contributes to ulcers.
- Can cause gallstones.
- Contributes to adrenal fatigue.
- Can suppress your immune system.
- Can cause cancer and feeds existing cancerous cells.
- Can contribute to heart disease.
- It feeds Candida.
Candida albicans is yeast like fungus that inhabits the body and can get into the blood stream, which can lead to many of the aliments above. Sugar makes our blood more acidic and the yeast infection becomes even more acute. Yes, it is an infection and can become a grave life-threatening infection. The big problem here is Candida loves sugar… and we are addicted to it!
Candida can conceal itself undetected within our bodies until it becomes out of control, which is when many of the symptoms mentioned above surface.
The real problem is that sugar is in practically everything we consume; processed packaged foods, cereals, soft drinks, bread, cakes, sweets, fast foods, tin foods, sauces, fruit juices, Milo and other chocolate based beverages, jam and other spreads like Nutella and the list goes on. It is even found in some so called healthy alternative milks like soy, almond and oat milk.
If you start reading the ingredients on the packaging (thankfully compulsory in Australia) you will be surprised how many products on our supermarket shelves contain sugar. And watch out because they are hidden under a variety of different pseudonyms including:
- Brown sugar
- Raw sugar
- Cane sugar
- Maple syrup
- Raw Honey
- Corn syrup
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Rice Syrup
- Demerara Sugar
- Free Flowing Brown Sugars
- Muscovado or Barbados Sugar
- Powdered or confectioner’s sugar
- Blackstrap Molasses
- Turbinado sugar (coarse granulated brown sugar)
Made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, sugar (or sucrose) is a carbohydrate. Sucrose is made up of two simpler sugars, fructose and glucose.
While sucrose is found naturally in plants and fruits, most fruits are too sweet and feed the systemic fungal infection, Candida, so if you suspect you may be suffering from one of the previously mentioned symptoms of Candida, it is advisable to not eat them either. Very sour fruits like lemons; limes, black currant juice and sour grapefruit are usually fine for most people.
However, there IS a difference between naturally occurring sucrose in plants and the sucrose found in granulated sugar or the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) often used to sweeten processed foods. The refining process required to make granulated sugar (including cane, raw, or brown sugar) is what makes it bad for consumption.
Both granulated sugar and high fructose corn syrup go through a refining process…they are called “empty calories” because they offer no nutritional value. In addition, they are addictive and rob your body of energy and health.
While raw honey is one and a half times sweeter than sugar it at least has additional micronutrients and antioxidants that sugar or HFCS simply don’t have however, it still feeds the systemic yeast infection and raises blood sugar almost as much as table sugar so needs to be consumed minimally.
And while we are on the topic of foods to avoid, fast-digesting carb sources like breads, pastas, bagels, muffins, rice, and other grain-based foods will also spike your blood sugar just as quickly as regular table sugar.
For example, each piece of bread you eat is basically equivalent to eating about 20 grams of sugar (not to mention the added sugar in most commercially baked breads) and since the response to your blood sugar and triglyceride levels is essentially the same, they can be worse in some cases.
So what about sugar alternatives? One factor to consider when choosing what sweetener to use is it’s Glycemic Index http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycemic_index
Coconut Sugar or Coconut Palm Sugar (not to be confused with Palm Sugar) is given a GI of 35, which puts it in the low range. This is much lower than table sugar, which is somewhere around 60.
Coconut sugar has a high mineral content, being a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. In addition to this it contains Vitamin B1, B2, B3, and B6. When compared to brown sugar, coconut sugar has 18 times the potassium, 30 times the phosphorus and over 10 times the amount of zinc. The large amounts of K and P can explained by the way coconut sugar is tapped from the inflorescences of the tree. Once again, the amount consumed it the determining factor here.
Be aware that in some areas, predominantly in Thailand, the terms “coconut sugar” and “palm sugar” are often used interchangeably. However, coconut sugar is different both in taste, texture and manufacture methods from palm sugar, which is made from the sap in the stems of the Palmyra palm, the date palm, the sugar date palm, the sago palm or the sugar palm.