Is sugar healthy? Let’s explore the question.
A hundred years ago, the average sugar consumption was five pounds a year and heart disease, cancer and diabetes were practically unknown. Today, Americans eat 158 pounds of sugar a year and heart disease, cancer and diabetes are our number one killers. Is there any correlation?
Although the powerful sugar industry would have you think otherwise, sugar’s not just bad for your teeth, it’s a killer. High glycemic sugars cause an unhealthy insulin surge and replace nutritious foods in your diet. They’re bad for your looks, bad for the way you feel and just plain bad for you – Period! Unhealthy sweets have been shown to lead to obesity, kidney stones, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease and to be a major contributor to behavior and learning problems in children.
The food industry has dozens of word “disguises” for high glycemic sugars. Most common are honey, dextrose, lactose, corn syrup, maltodextrin, mannitol and sorbitol. But no matter what you call it, it’s still dangerous.
And don’t be fooled by so-called “health food” treats. In order to profit from the public sweet tooth, many manufacturers offer a large array of unhealthy sugar-laden foods. The current popular “health food” new age term for sugar is “crystals.” There’s Florida Crystals, cane juice crystals, organic dehydrated cane juice, unbleached crystallized evaporated cane juice and raw cane crystals. These can be found in whole grain cereals, baked goods, granola bars and many other foods and drinks found in “health food” aisles.
Another high-glycemic vesion is Rapadura (or Sucanat). Marketers call Rapadura “the perfect organic, unbleached, unrefined sweetener” and claim “processing methods retain the natural vitamins and minerals in sugar.” This may sound good, but it’s just honey-coated hype.
Sugar has never been grown or consumed for its nutritional value. Although there are some nutrients, they’re minuscule and definitely not worth the trade off. You’re better off eating fresh fruits and vegetables for their high vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content. Fruits and vegetables have natural sugars in the form of low-glycemic fructose. Plus, there’s plenty of good fiber to support normal insulin response.
Whether you’re shopping at health food stores or supermarkets, read labels. Go for products either extremely low in sugar or sugar-free. And choose fresh fruits and veggies for dessert and snacks.
Moss Greene is the Nutrition Editor for BellaOnline.com and an authority on essential fatty acids, such as fish oil health benefits. Over the past 30 years, shes helped thousands of people to look better, think smarter and feel great naturally. Visit Moss at nutrition.bellaonline.com to learn more and subscribe to her free health and fitness newsletter.