If you noticed, the ones that are high on the glycemic index (and in case you're unaware, high = bad in terms of this index), are also the ones often found in all the processed goodies that rock our North American diet! This is not good news for your body...or your waistline, so try and stick to the more natural ones (think: stevia, molasses, organic cane sugar) when baking and such...mmmkay?!
The lower the GI you can go, the better off you'll be, but be careful because corn syrup/high fructose corn syrup (ie: high glycemic index rating/a bad sugar) shows up in almost eeeeeverything (sadly, it's even in mini-wheats, so watch out) because it's so cheap to make!
Why is 'sugar-free' so sugar free?
I'll just put this out there: what I would do (the non-health professional girl, just merely a nutrition student, got that?); I would much rather consume a natural form of sugar (ie: the ones I listed above in the brackets) then consume any product that is sugar-free. You got that? I don't want those sugar-free products or artificial sweeteners, and you don't either...trust me on that one!
Our body needs sugar.
As said by Dr. Oz, "cells in your body use sugar from starches, fruits, and sugars you eat for fuel or store it for future use." He also has a handy video here to get a better idea.
Also, for those of you that still feel the need to eat sugar-free products, let's be clear that you might not entirely be eating products that are completely free of sugar. This is another misconception that people get caught up in - just because a label has specific claims on it, does not mean they are 100% accurate. Just like something can be labelled "fat free" but still have up to 0.5g of fat per serving in it. Beware of these claims!
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, "food labels can be confusing when it comes to sugar. A food can be labeled "sugar free" or "sugarless" and still contain calories from sugar alcohols
such as xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol."
We also get into the sticky subject of artificial sweeteners that are just not good for you. Just look at what Dr. Lindsey Duncan had to say about them:
Aspartame: Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that's sold under the names of Equal and NutraSweet. Some studies have shown that aspartame may be carcinogenic and may affect brain function as well as contribute to health issues such as diabetes, birth defects and epilepsy.Sucralose: Sucralose (also known as Splenda) is made by chlorinating sugar. Some side effects that may be associated with sucralose or Splenda are skin rashes, irritability, dizziness, muscle aches, headaches, intestinal cramping, bladder issues and stomach pain.Saccharin: Saccharin is also sold under the name Sweet 'N Low. It's a possible carcinogen, and various studies have shown that side effects from saccharin may include headaches, skin conditions, sensitivity to light, nausea, diarrhea and irritability.
Moral of the sugar-free story: know your source of sugar (or 'lack of').
Putting the 'real' back in sugar.
Lets get the notion out of our heads that we should cut out sugars altogether. It's like fats; somewhere someone got this crazy idea that fats are so bad for you, but you would not be healthy without it (by this, I mean the 'healthy' fats, the unsaturated), just like sugar. And why would you want to cut out sugars (both naturally occurring in fruits and other forms like maple syrup, stevia, etc)?! As humans, it's something we naturally crave, and for good reason!
So, if you're really trying to "cutback" on sugar, then why don't you put down the pop (or candy or chips or refined baked goods) and reach for an apple or cherries or plum - I don't care which fruit it is you eat, just start eating the natural kind of sugars; the ones your body loves! And do your research; find out what kinds (and amounts) of sugars you're really eating when you open the package. Or just stay away from the package altogether, because chances are if you're eating something from a package to begin with, it's probably not a good form of sugar!
Try and use your head before those taste buds of yours take over! If you're overdoing it on the sugar front right now, just know that when you cut back, you will start craving it less...it's a science. Get past the hump and you'll be smooth sailing.
I hope you've enjoyed my weekend rant on sugar. Also, I hope I haven't deterred anyone from reading in the future, because I just want to be informative.
And also, I'm so sorry this post is so long. I hope you got something out of it though!
Hope you're having a great weekend!
QUESTION: What's your take on sugar? You've heard from me, now I want to hear from you!!