buh buh buh bum bum bum …. oh honey, honey….
All sugars are absolutely NOT created equally. This scandalous ingredient is confusingly satisfying, but not always so good for us. What is sugar? What types of sugars should I be consuming?
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that is either found in the form of sugar cane or sugar beet, which is then converted to sucrose (granulated sugar).
All sugar is somewhat refined — truly unrefined sugar is illegal and not available for purchase. However, there are differences between the many forms of sugar. Some are highly refined (the BAD guys), others are minimally refined (the BETTER guys) while pure forms in their natural state of sweetness (the BEST guys) provide the body with beneficial nutrients.
The BAD GUYS- Refined white cane sugar is obtained from raw sugar by a refining process including affination and melting, clarification, filtration, evaporation, and crystallization. CO2 or phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide are used to bleach the sugar from brown to white. This type of sugar is stripped of its nutrients, therefore; it lacks phosphorus, calcium, iron, Mg, and potassium. Also, refined sugars may have chemicals added to them.
Ex: white sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, and table sugar
The GOOD GUYS – Fun fact: Completely unrefined sugar is not safe to eat. The term “unrefined” sugar is used for those sweeteners that have undergone the most minimal amount of processing allowed for consumption and are in their most natural state. Mother Nature’s sweeteners…
Examples : pure raw honey, pure raw maple syrup
The BEST GUYS – Fruit or any raw food that naturally contains fructose, #EATREALFOOD
A little sugar-cation…
Raw sugar: you know the brown packets of sugar you see in restaurants… the type of sugar that will NEVER dissolve in your tea? It is a light tan color and has been semi-refined to be put into a crystallized form. Since, raw sugar is converted into crystals, it has the same nutritional value as refined sugar! So HECK NO, “raw sugar” is actually not a better option! It simply is just darker in color and less water-soluble. There is no nutritional advantage over refined sugar (white sugar packets) so you aren’t doing your body any favors! Steer clear!
Maple syrup and honey get the job done just fine. With having a stronger taste and a thicker consistency, you’ll get the same amount of sweetness desired with using less of it… at times equating to fewer calories. WAIT, don’t count calories, make your NUTRIENTS count.
Honey is an invert sugar, also a natural form of sugar that has not gone under any refining process. Therefore, making it a “natural sugar.” By consuming pure honey, we are simply consuming Mother Nature’s most bare form of sugar. Lucky for us, thanks to our bees, it has not been processed or pasteurized (stripped of its vital nutrients) and tastes delicious!
Raw honey has some amazing medicinal benefits including antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal, anticarcinogen, and antiallergenic properties. Thanks, Mother Nature!
The darker the honey, the more flavorful the taste will be, however; the nutritional content does not vary too much despite the wide variety in honey colors. Most store-bought honey has been pasteurized before being bottled. Check your labels! This process can destroy some of the key nutritional benefits of honey, therefore; it is recommended to buy raw or “100% pure” honey, which means it has not been pasteurized. Raw honey is available at our local farmers markets (Tivoli Village). We use Pahrump Honey Company at Fruits & Roots. They are a local Raw Desert Honey made in Pahrump, Nevada.
**Due to the absence of pasteurization of raw honey, it should not be given to children/ infants under the age of 2 years (their immune system is not strong enough to fight off certain toxins). Honey can carry a toxin (Clostridium botulinum) that can cause infant botulism, which is a serious illness causing paralysis.
Ready for the drama? Sugar is comparable in addiction to cocaine, yes it’s seriously that addictive! Like abusive drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward center of the brain. Because of its massive dopamine release, sugar too can be highly addictive. Lesson learned, make the right choices when it comes to satisfying that sweet tooth.
At Fruits and Roots, we use 100% pure organic sources of sweetness. Our Homemade Granola’s (that’s right, we do NOT buy it in bulk with an overload of refined sugar) sweetness is a derivative of pure maple syrup. That is the ONLY source of Mother Nature’s sweetness in that crunchy delicious goodness – keeping our granola light and still super tasty! Our Paleo Banana Bread, sweetened with just honey is a great way to consume a healthier sweet with the absence of refined (gross) sugars. We understand, embrace and invoke the benefits of eliminating refined sugars in our diet – promoting a healthy heart and quality lifestyle. Therefore, we promise to use only the purest forms of Mother Nature’s sugar for our products. Not only do we care about your satisfaction with our food, we truly care for your health. Promoting a healthy lifestyle by consuming foods in its most raw and pure forms is what we live by. Mother Nature knows best!
CONTINUED SUGAR-CATION (if you’re interested that is….)
Sugars are often hidden in common food products, but mostly processed foods. The empty calories in sugar do not provide any nutritional benefit to the body, which is why it is important to know how to find other sugar sources on food labels and to be aware of all the sneaky names used to disguise sugar.
NATURAL SUGARS – “THE FAVORITES”
Coconut Nectar, Coconut Sugar, Date Sugar, Maple Syrup, Honey, Pure Fruit Juice, Whole Fruit
REFINED SUGARS – “THE NAUGHTY LIST”
Any of the following names preceding the word “sugar” or “syrup”, is a form of sugar.
High Fructose Corn (Syrup)
SUGAR ALCOHOLS NAMES – “THE NAUGHTY LIST, CONT.”
These sugars have minimal calories but are most likely to cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Eliminate these from your diet and take notice of how amazing you feel!
Erythritol, Glycol, Glycerin, Iditol, Isomalt, Lacitol, Maltitol, Mannitol, Ribotol, Sorbitol, Xylitol.
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER NAMES – “THE SUPER NAUGHTY SNEEKY LIST”
These are NO, NO’s! Yes, they come with the promotion of having zero calories, but scientific research has showed a correlation to weight gain and type 2 diabetes with excess consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners. If it sounds too good to be true… it usually is.
Aspartame, Acesulfame-L, Equal, Nutra-sweet, Saccharin, Splenda, Stevia, Sucralose, Sweetleaf, Sweet-n-low, Truvia.
MOST Common LABEL “Hidden” SUGAR NAMES… STEER CLEAR
Cane juice, Dehydrated cane juice, Cane juice solids, Cane juice crystals, Maltodextrin, Barley malt, Buttered syrup, Carob syrup, Malt syrup, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate, Dehydrated fruit juice, Fruit juice crystals, Golden syrup, Turbinado, Sorghum syrup, Yellow sugar.
Authors: Sydney Spoon, RDN, LD & Patricia Kaytia