The Skinny on Sugar

by Polly N on April 18, 2012

It really bugs me that every single day we are being duped into believing that food on the supermarket shelves is healthy for us because is has “less fat”, “no artificial colours” or is “calorie free”. Many people really don’t understand food labels and quite simply don’t have a clue what they are really putting into their bodies. That probably explains why people are getting fatter, sicker and why chronic disease is on the rise.

Source

Today I’m talking sugar and clearing up some of the confusing misconceptions around glucose and fructose and exposing the many disguises and aliases of sugar sneaking their way into your body.

Fructose

The big misconception about fructose is that it ALL fructose is healthier than other sugars because it is found in fresh fruits. Unfortunately this is wrong. While the fructose consumed from fruit is easily metabolised by the body, the fructose that is used in many processed foods, fizzy drinks, baked products and tinned goods result in an overloaded and toxic liver. When large amounts of fructose are consumed in its concentrated form, (ie agave, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), crystalline fructose), it bypasses your gastrointestinal tract and goes straight to your liver which must work extra hard to process it. Not only that but fructose is converted into glycerol which can raise levels of triglycerides which are linked to increased risk of heart disease.

High fructose consumption has been linked to:

  • Obesity
  • Increased levels of circulating blood lipids
  • Fat around the middle of the body
  • Lowered HDL
  • Increased levels of uric acid (linked with gout and heart disease)
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Fatty liver
  • The formation of AGE’s* (advanced end glycation products), which can lead to wrinkling and other signs of skin aging

High Fructose Corn Syrup

HFCS is in practically every processed food. And just because it is derived from corn, does not make it healthy or okay. It is more addictive than crack, is just as bad if not worse that white sugar and is genetically modified. It’s super easy and cheap to produce so you will find it in most sauces, processed and packaged foods. Do not be fooled!

Glucose

Glucose is a simple sugar derived from starches. When starch is consumed, it gets converted into glucose, raises your blood sugar levels and gives you energy. Your pancreas must then release insulin which carry it to the cells that need it, storing any unused glucose into “long term storage” (which become fat cells). When glucose consumption is continuously high, the body begins to suffer. Consuming highly processed foods, simple starches such as white flour and white rice, and other sugary foods, the blood glucose level is raised to high levels. The pancreas can only deal with this for so long and eventually it becomes unable to efficiently release insulin. This can cause type 2 diabetes but also as the cells aren’t getting fed the glucose they require from the release of insulin, hyperglycemia can also be caused which has been linked to:

  • Obesity
  • Decreased immunity
  • Poor wound healing
  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney failure
  • High levels of blood lipids
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Peripheral nerve disease

Artificial Sweeteners

Many people have turned to artificial sweeteners in an attempt to be healthier but the reality is that these toxic alternatives have been linked to cancer, brain disorders, neurological problems and aches and pains. Ehem, I’ll pass on that thanks!

Sugar Aliases 

The food industry are duping us with different names for the same thing. Here are the many other names of sugar lurking in your everyday processed foods:

  • Brown sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Maple sugar
  • Molasses
  • Sucrose
  • Turbinado

 

What sweet foods can I eat?

I know I know – I hear you cry “So what sweet things can I have?” Truth is sugar is sugar is sugar is sugar. However there are some healthier alternatives that you can have such as stevia (which has no effect on the blood sugar), raw honey, maple syrup, dates, date syrup,  coconut sugar, xylitol and yacon syrup. But remember, they should be consumed in small amounts – just because they are healthier doesn’t mean you should go overboard. I’ll blog about this some more so keep your eyes peeled.

Here’s some extra reading on Breaking the sugar habit

 

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Irene April 18, 2012 at 8:23 am

Hey Polly, what do you think about coconut sugar? I’m curious as you haven’t mentioned in your article… it has a very low GI as well.

Thanks.

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polly April 18, 2012 at 8:33 am

Yes coconut sugar is a great alternative – thanks for reminding me – I have added it to the post ;o)

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Irene April 18, 2012 at 10:18 am

Cool- good to know they are in the good to eat list as it is my preferred sweetener after dates :) thanks for the article Polly, very interesting!

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Melissa April 18, 2012 at 10:03 am

I made some flapjacks last night and replaced the butter with coconut butter and I used organic coconut sugar.. they really worked!

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polly April 18, 2012 at 10:16 am

Great stuff!

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Nicola Wakeling April 18, 2012 at 11:16 am

Oh share, Melissa, please!!! If not the flapjack (!) just the recipe would be so helpful. I can’t tell you how many of my flapjacks have ended life as granola for breakfast. ……

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Amber April 18, 2012 at 11:38 am

Is raw, pure agave nectar on the ‘ok’ list?

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polly April 18, 2012 at 11:40 am

No fraid not, ill post on this soon but agave is a big baddie. ;o(

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Amber April 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Oh no! There goes my bottle from the fridge… Thanks for the info. Look forward to reading more about it. Love and light. Xx

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Jessica Nazarali (@JessicaNazarali) April 20, 2012 at 12:58 am

Hi Polly, I just found your site and it’s been love at first sight :) I totally agree with you about sugar, we consume far too much of it and it’s hidden everywhere. I curious to find out what do you think about fruit? Do you monitor your intake? x

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Anon April 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Evidence?

I wish you all the best in your fight against cancer.

My concern though is that you publish absolutely no evidence for the things that you post on this site. No evidence from research or trial data on how bodies metabolise sugars, or foods, no evidence whatsoever. But quite a lot of claims.

Again, good luck, but please be mindful that you are conducting an experiment on yourself. The results are yet to be seen, and even if effective will not constitute empirical data. I wish you well, but your followers should be mindful of the above.

Cheers.

Anon.

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polly April 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Hello Anon,

Thanks for your concern. As you rightly pointed out I am experimenting on myself which the disclaimer on my website clearly points out. This is an information based site where i highlight certain health issues that people might not be aware of. If people wish to do further research on something they are concerned about then of course I would always recommend that. This website is not a scientific based site because that is not what my readers want from me nor do I want to bog it down with facts and figures. With regards to the sugar you don’t have to look very far to know that what I have written is factually similar to what is being written on other well-regarded sites like Mercola.com. For eg http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/28/new-study-confirms-fructose-affects-your-brain-very-differently-than-glucose.aspx

I too wish you well Anon. xx

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Siri May 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm

So, I must say I am really confused about fructose. When scientists say that sugar is addictive, is that the glucose or fructose? Some raw diets recommend not using fruits at all (or at least, fruits with high amounts of fructose like dates and dried figs) like the Hippocrates Institute, but then again I hear about the 801010 diet and want to cry!! I have been trying to cut the amount of fruits, as I have been eating quite a lot, but really just end up with big cravings. So what to do? Not expecting you to have the answer to this dear, but do you have any idea what I’m talking about? xo, S

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polly May 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Hi Siri
Yes I know it can be confusing because so many different people and website have different opinions. But basically the fructose in fruit is fine in moderation because it has the fibre which slows down the rate at which it breaks down. Personally I think fruit is fine as long as you don’t overdo it which some people do but stick to low gi fruit like apples, pears and berries with mango and pineapple occasionally. I dont know much about the 801010 diet but I think you have to cherry pick what works for you rather than following a strict diet because not one rule works for everyone. It sounds like you might want to check you havent got candida as you could have it if youre craving a lot of fruit and sugar. The prob lies in the fact that fructose is added to lots of processed foods so you dont always know when you’re having it. We do need some sugar but preferably in the form of the fruit or veg it came from. Hope that helps. xx

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Siri May 7, 2012 at 10:47 am

Thank you so much for response, appreciate your advice! xo

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