Sugar depresses the immune system. Americans consume an average of 150 bags of sugar in a year. Lots of sugar triggers insulin production. Guess who else loves insulin? Cancer cells. Sugar causes cancer cells to divide so the number of cancer cells grows. Sugar contributes to obesity because the excess in the body is turned to triglycerides which the fat cells ingest. Fat cells have a huge appetite and will consume triglycerides until they are bursting at the seams. The bigger your fat cells, the bigger you become.
Types of Sugar:
Glucose – Glucose is the simple sugar made by the body through digestion of carbohydrates. It is the body’s chief source of energy. Sometimes glucose is called dextrose.
Sucrose – Sucrose is what we commonly refer to as table sugar. It is made from highly processed sugar cane or sugar beets. The composition of sucrose is a combination of glucose and fructose, which separates during digestion. Pure sucrose is devoid of any nutrients.
Fructose – Fructose, commonly called fruit sugar, is a simple sugar found in honey, tree fruits, berries, and melons. But don’t be fooled into thinking fructose on a label means you are eating fruit sugar. Pure crystalline fructose comes from two sources: corn or sucrose (table sugar). Corn starch is processed to release fructose. Sucrose (table sugar) is enzymatically hydrolyzed to separate into glucose and fructose. Crystalline fructose is pure fructose from one of these two sources. Fructose’s Glycemic Index (GI) rating is only17, but it is linked to Cardiovascular disease.
High fructose syrup – High Fructose Corn Syrup is made from starches like corn, wheat, and rice. High fructose syrups contain nearly equal amounts of glucose and fructose, a composition nearly identical to sucrose (table sugar). The reason high fructose corn syrup is so abundant in our processed food is simple-it’s cheaper than sugar. Because we highly subsidize corn and place tariffs on sugar imports, high fructose corn syrup is much less expensive.
Pure fructose is 1.2-1.8 times sweeter than sucrose so less is needed for the same level of sweetness. It is low on the glycemic index, therefore it does not lead to peaks and dips in the body’s glucose levels. But fructose is processed in the liver. When too much fructose enters the liver at once, the liver can’t process fructose as a sugar. Instead, the liver turns excess fructose into fats called triglycerides. When you incorporate these fats into our bodies cells (the cell membranes) triglycerides cause these cells to be insulin resistant. This is the reason that high fructose corn syrup leads to diabetes. Fructose is linked to significant increases of both cholesterol and triglycerides. And remember that fructose, like sucrose, is a highly refined processed sugar devoid of any nutrition.
Maltose – Maltose, also known as malt sugar, is half as sweet as sucrose. It is produced from starch (barley, wheat, rice or other grains). It has been produced in China since 200 B.C. We use it in making beer and as an additive to some processed foods. It is formed as the first step in digestion of starchy foods, then is broken down into glucose.
Lactose – The sugar found naturally in milk.
Date Sugar – From 100% dehydrated dates. It’s a whole food, high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. It’s Glycemic index is unknown.
Sugar Alcohols or Polyols – Maltitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, erythritol, and andisomalt occur naturally in plants, but can be manufactured from sugars and starches. They have fewer calories than sugars because they do not absorb completely in the body. They easily ferment in the intestines and cause gas.
Artificial Sweeteners – They all are TOXIC, i.e. POISON; and they lead to weigh gain.
The Glycemic Index (GI)
The Glycemic Index is the comparative measure of how much glucose a food releases over a 2-3 hour period. Carbohydrates, when digested, release glucose into the blood stream. GI rating is one of the factors that determines a food’s effect on a person’s blood sugar. Glycemic Load, GL, indicates how much carbohydrate a food contains, and affects the GI of a food. The amount of a particular food eaten also impacts a person’s blood sugar, as does the density of nutrients in that food. A low GI number translates to a slow, steady release of glucose. A high number can cause a spike of glucose which causes a large insulin release leading to glucose stored as fat rather than used as fuel, and a rapid drop in blood sugar causing hunger for more carbs.
Healthier Sugar Alternatives:
Stevia is over 200x sweeter than sucrose, but has a GI rating of less than one. Do not use the processed stevias like Truvia. Sweet Leaf Stevia is the only pure brand I know.
Xylitol has a GI rating of 7, but often causes gas and bloating.
Agave nectar has a GI rating of 15-30 even though it is about 70% fructose. Inulin in the syrup seems to “control” the fructose. It can cause upset in the gut. The biggest problem with agave is poor processing. Usually agave is processed to where it is a super condensed fructose syrup devoid of nutritional value, so, buyer beware.
Raw Honey is rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients when it is not processed. The GI rating is only 30.
Coconut Palm Sugar from the sap of coconut palms has a GI of 35 and is the new ‘in’ product among health enthusiasts.
Lo Han Kuo is about 200 times sweeter than sugar and in China the Lo Han fruit has been used as a sweetener for centuries. It is similar to Stevia, but more expensive and harder to find. It received FDA GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status in 2009.
Glucose/Dextrose is expensive and only 70 percent as sweet as sucrose, so you have to use more for the same amount of sweetness. It does not contain any fructose and can be used directly by every cell in your body making it a safer sugar alternative.
Other GI Ratings
- Apple Juice: 40
- Barley Malt Syrup: 42
- Amasake: 43
- Sugar cane juice: 43
- Organic sugar: 47
- Maple Syrup: 54 (it is a processed food)
- Evaporated Cane Juice: 55
- Black Strap Molasses: 55
- Turbinado Raw Sugar: 65
- Raw Sugar: 65 (also a refined processed food)
- Colas and most sodas: 70
- Corn Syrup: 75
- Pasteurized, Refined Honey: 75
- Refined Table Sugar: 80 (also is extremely acidic to the body causing calcium and other mineral depletion from bones and organs)
- HFCS: 87, a combination of fructose and sucrose
- Maltodextrin: 150 – often labeled low sugar, or complex carbohydrate