There are many kinds of primary sugars:
Each plays a different nutritional role in our body. For instance, when you eat foods containing single sugars (glucose, fructose and galactose), they are absorbed directly into our blood. When you eat double sugars (lactose, maltose and sucrose), they must be digested first, which then causes a chain of chemical reactions.
Sugars derived from fruits, vegetables and whole grains are vastly different than concentrated sugars (dextrose, sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup) found in refined foods, soda and candy.
Sugar tastes good and offers quick energy, but it’s not really good for you. White sugar and refined sugars are especially not good for you, because this kind of sugar is consumed in such massive quantities, contains no vitamins or minerals, is loaded with calories and can be addictive.
- Depresses your immune system
- Elevates triglyceride levels
- Interferes with your body’s natural chemistry
- Raises your insulin level
- Promotes obesity
- Can contribute to depression
- Increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol
- May lead to chromium and copper deficiencies
- Raises adrenaline levels
- Promotes tooth decay
Life is about balance. A little sugar is Ok, but too much sugar is a significant health risk.
- Honey, molasses, date, maple sugar, amazake, barley malt or rice syrups, turbinado sugar, sucanat, maple syrup, fructose and corn syrup
- Reduced-calorie sweeteners -- which I would try to avoid -- are erythritol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol
- Low-calorie sweeteners such as acesulfame potassium, aspartame, saccharin and sucralose
The side-effect of sugar consumption in excess is weight gain. If you are overweight, the chances are you got that way by consuming refined carbohydrates.
A Closer Look - Low-Calorie Sweeteners
- Saccharin (Sweet N Low, Sugar Twin)
Saccharin can be used in both hot and cold foods to make them sweeter. You may recall that some studies giving very large quantities of saccharin to rats raised concerns that saccharin could cause cancer, but many studies and years of use have shown saccharin to be safe in the quantities used by consumers. What you probably don’t know is that saccaharin is made from a petroleum-based solvent.
- Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
Aspartame is another low-calorie sweetener. Because high temperatures can decrease its sweetness, check NutraSweet.com for guidelines when using aspartame in recipes. Aspartame combines two amino acids – phenylalanie and aspartic
- Acesulfame potassium (Sweet One, Swiss Sweet, Sunett)
Another low-calorie sweetener on the market is acesulfame potassium, also called acesulfame-K. This sweetener is heat stable and can be used in baking and cooking.
- Sucralose (Splenda)
Sucralose is the newest low-calorie sweetener on the market. Sucralose is not affected by heat and retains its sweetness in hot beverages, baked goods and processed foods.
As our body tries to metabolize sugar, sugar draws on our body’s reserve of vitamins and minerals. When those reserves are gone, the metabolization of good cholesterol and fatty acids is impeded, contributing to higher blood serum, triglycerides and bad cholesterol.
Regular and consistent consumption of sugar can lead to obesity, promote diabetes, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, increasing the risk of heart disease arteriosclerosis, depression, hypertension, cancer, creating mood swings and disruptive behavior, causing tooth decay and gum disease, and undermining our endocrine system and its family of glands such as our adrenal glands, pancreas and liver, while causing our blood sugar to fluctuate. Too much sugar upsets our body’s mineral balance
Experts suggest that you have no more than 13 teaspoons (50 grams) of sugar per day, which is about 200 calories out of your diet.