Good Sugar versus Bad Sugar

The sweet taste of sugarÖ itís something we have all come to experience. There are many forms such as glucose, sucrose, fructose, and lactose (to name a few). Each of our bodies processes these sugars differently. We can either use it for energy or it could be converted into fat. But what all these forms have in common is the ďoseĒ at the end. When you see this in an ingredient list, guess what it is? SUGAR! There is good sugar and then there is bad sugar. Letís discuss the differences with good sugar vs bad sugar.

Good Sugar

Structurally, a sugar molecule is the simplest form of carbohydrate. While many people say all sugar is bad, thatís not always exactly the case. Letís look at fruit for example. Fruit contains fructose. Is it a sugar? Absolutely. Fructose is naturally occurring and is sweet. Yet, fruit also contains many vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Those who utilize a Paleo Diet are more than aware of how to utilize fruit to sustain energy levels and also take in the many vital micronutrients that they possess.

Vegetables are the same way. While there may be some natural sugar found in vegetables like carrots, for example, the health risks are minimized due to how the body breaks it down and utilizes it, not to mention all of the micronutrients it possesses to improve health and bodily functions.

Nuts and whole grains also contain simple sugars Ė some of you might not have realized that and itís why Iím talking about it in this article. The benefit to these is that they also contain fiber which doesnít spike insulin levels the same way as other foods that contain sugar do. Fiber slows down digestion and in turn the absorption of sugar.

Another benefit of consuming these ďgood sugarsĒ is that many fruits such as blueberries also contain free-radical fighting antioxidants. These protect our cells from being damaged, mutilated, mutated, or killed. When any of those things happen, we have a greater risk of becoming sick and even getting certain types of cancer.

So, if you wanted to toss some good sugar into your diet, make sure you are taking in various (whole food) forms of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.

Bad Sugar

Sugar is highly addictive and should almost be categorized as a drug (even though you might think thatís a little extreme). Sugar is one of the leading factors to the obesity epidemic we face here in America. There are way too many items we consume from the grocery store that contains hidden sugars that you normally wouldnít assume are in a product (generally a pre-packaged good).

Our brain loves and feeds off of sugar. In fact, once it has some, it wants more and more and more. You also get the yo-yo effect of energy levels after consuming it. When someone is coming down from a sugar high what do they normally do? Consume more sugar to reach that high again (understand how itís similar to a drug?).

There is one very important piece that needs to be said and understood about sugar from a negative standpoint. I think itís obvious that even from a young age we understand that sugar is bad for us and that it can cause tooth decay and increase the risk of diabetes. Drinking soda and eating candy is ďno-noís.Ē We get it. However, one thing that many people donít know is that cancer cells feed off of sugar. When sugar is present in the system, cancer cells utilize it to grow and spread rapidly. While not a sure way to prevent cancer itself, itís advised to limit the amount of sugar you consume on a daily basis. While itís difficult to exclude it completely, refrain from consuming pre-packaged products with sugar whenever possible.

When you look at a label, you may see the word ďsugarĒ in the ingredient list and not think much of it. But as you keep scrolling through you may see things like dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, maltose, molasses, fruit juice concentrate, and sucrose (or many others). Brands spread out these sugars to make the product appear ďhealthierĒ since they arenít putting sugar as the main ingredient, instead they utilize three or more sugar sources so they can spread them out on the ingredient list by prominence as required. Is this deceptive? Indeed. And itís for that reason you should be reading the entire ingredient list before purchasing a product.

As a general rule of thumb, if you want to cut back on the ďbad sugarĒ in your diet, try to not purchase or consume products that are processed and obviously stay away from candy and regular soda. Also, be aware of ďhealthyĒ foods that contain unhealthy sugar sources. You can look at yogurt as an example. Plain nonfat Greek yogurt contains minimal amounts of natural sugars (lactose from the milk) with nothing extra added. When you take the same nonfat Greek yogurt but get it in any of their flavors, it shoots the sugar content up due to adding a sweetener to it and improving the taste.

If you want to ensure you are taking the necessary steps to maintain your health, youíre going to need to be proactive. Unfortunately, once we lose our health, itís extremely difficult to get it back. Put forth the effort upfront to maximize health and longevity.