All You Need to Know About Sugar

Posted by Balance In Motion in Nutrition Tips
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January is the month of resolution. But the unfortunate truth about resolutions is that they’re often easier to set, then act on. The good news is we’ve got a solution and it’s called, SUPPORT!

As you may or may not know we have decided to host a January ‘No Sugar No Booze Challenge’ to help rid ourselves of the toxins currently calling our body home, and we invite you to join us!

To help inspire you to join our ‘no booze no sugar’ movement here’s the down and dirty on sugar.

 

Sugars

One of the most misunderstood carbohydrates out there, sugar comes in many forms; ranging from the good, the bad to the ugly.

Part of the reason that sugar is shrouded in confusion is this lovely thing called, marketing. There is so much propaganda out there that it’s hard for one to know which sugars are okay to eat, and which ones are not… and there are a lot that are not.

The unfortunate truth is that the majority of sugars found in the food that you buy will have a negative impact on your health. However the good news is, with a little will power it’s easy to avoid them.

Let’s look at how the different varieties of sugar can impact our metabolism and waistline.

 

The Good

When it comes to sugars, the one’s with the highest health benefits come straight from nature—maple syrup (the real stuff), honey and coconut sugar. However if you’re trying to lose weight and/or struggling with sugar cravings I would stay away from coconut sugar in the beginning. Once you have reached your goal weight and your sugar cravings have subsided, you can then introduce small amounts of coconut sugar to your diet.

 

The Bad

White sugar, brown sugar, agave syrup, raw sugar are all similar and will have a negative impact on your health and your waistline if you ingest them in large quantities. These four varieties of sugar may fall into the ‘bad’ category but they are suitable to ingest in moderation… and I stress moderation.

 

The Ugly

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, Splenda and Sweet & Low are all synthetic sugars that are full of toxins and can be extremely harmful to your body when consumed in large amounts. Stevia however does not fall into this category and is suitable replacement to a no calorie sweetener.

 

The Nitty Gritty on Natural Sugars

Both maple syrup and honey are packed with nutritional benefits. While coconut sugar is not metabolized the same way as its white, brown or raw sugar counterparts—making it okay to eat in moderation.

When it comes to natural sugar, I tend to stick with real maple syrup and unprocessed honey because they’re nutritious, (they contain nutrients that artificial or zero calorie sweeteners do not) and tend to be sweeter than table sugars so you don’t need as much. Making eat a lot easier to moderate how much you eat 😉

  • 100% Pure Maple Syrup, for example contains the minerals manganese and zinc, as well as special bioactive compounds like phenols that act as antioxidants in the body. Tip: choose the darker Grade B variety to maximize your phenolic content!
  • Raw Unpasteurized Honey contains phytonutrients that function as antifungals and antibacterials to keep our immune systems happy, as well as many other vitamins and minerals. Tip: Like maple syrup, choose dark honey varieties for increased health protection. 

 

Even with all of natural sugar’s health benefits, there’s still evidence that limiting your intake of all sweeteners is the best way to go.

Honey and maple syrup contain glucose, fructose and sucrose. Our bodies can handle moderate amounts of these sugars—like those naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables—but there is a limit. Once that limit is surpassed, sugar starts to act like a toxin in our body and will contribute to weight gain. So the moderation is the name of the game.

Bottom line: Just because honey and maple syrup are “natural,” it doesn’t give you a free license to eat them without risk to your health and waistline! Remember, natural doesn’t always mean healthy, so make sure that you are mindful of how much sugar you are eating—even if it’s natural.

 

If you’re joining us for our ‘no sugar no booze’ January—which I hope that you are—you can eat the following sugars in moderation:

  • 100% pure maple syrup
  • Raw unpasteurized honey
  • Fruits but not fruit juice

 

If you have any questions about sugar, or need a little extra support to help get you through our ‘no booze no sugar’ challenge come see me at the studio! I’m in both Mondays and Wednesdays.

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2015!

Nicole