Your Body

Sugar Rush: The Great Sugar Myth

By November 17, 2015 0

The other day I was drinking a delicious, all-natural fruit smoothie.

A girl asked me what was in it, and me, being one who loves to talk about food, eagerly told her.

She replied, “Oh. That probably has a lot of sugar in it.”

*Face palm* My smoothie consisted of fresh pineapple, mango, strawberries, kale and unsweetened coconut water. That’s it. There were no added sugars at all!

I can’t blame this girl for her misguided comment. The media tells us constantly that any and all kinds of sugar are bad for our health and should be avoided at all cost.

Contrary to what the media says, not all sugar is bad for you. Fresh fruit is a natural source of sweetness that is beneficial for your health. There’s actually some reality to the term “sweet tooth.” It doesn’t just mean you’re a sucker for a slice of cake, the human tongue actually has a ton of sweet receptors, so it’s natural to desire sweet-tasting foods. There’s nothing wrong with consuming sugar to fulfill your natural cravings so long as you’re doing so with whole foods such as mango or blueberries.

Now, lets talk about the difference between good sugar and bad sugar.

Simple sugars, like the ones found in fruit, promote health. Refined sugars, on the other hand, are where the problem resides.

The refining process removes water, fiber and all other nutrients, leaving behind sugar, and only sugar.

The extracted sugar is more calorie-dense, causing overstimulation to our “sweet tooth.” This is where the term “sugar high” comes into play. When you consume too much refined sugar, you’ll feel a burst of momentary energy, followed by a monumental crash. Notice, however, that this doesn’t happen when you eat fruit. Natural sugar coming from fruit actually gives you sustained energy and keeps you satisfied for a long period of time.

Food manufacturers add high concentrations of refined sugar to foods already high in fat, making it a doubly problematic to your health.

So, let’s review:

  • Sugar as it occurs in wholefoods is not the issue – actually it’s necessary for your health.
  • The problem is when it’s extracted and used in excess
  • Foods highest in added sugar are usually higher in fat, sodium and refined sugar as well.

Moral of the story: don’t stray away from fruit because your FitPal app wants you to keep your sugars under 20 grams per day. Natural sugar found is not only tasting, it’s crucial for your health.