Since I am cutting out all sugar for the month of January while on my Whole 30 I thought I could do a little Sugar 101 on the benefits of avoiding it and all of the different types out there.
Why Avoid Sugar?
- It decreases your body’s production of leptin, a hormone critical for appetite regulation
- It has been shown to fuel cancer cells
- Sugar promotes fat storage and weight gain
- Over time, sugar intake spurs insulin resistance, which can lead to Type II diabetes and a host of other related health issues such as nerve damage and cardiovascular disease
- Sugar has addictive properties and the more your body consumes, the more it craves
Types of Sugar
From a chemical perspective, there are various kinds of sugar. Natural sweeteners and sugary foods contain varying proportions of these. Some of the most common forms are glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Of these three forms, fructose is probably the nastiest: it boosts rather than suppresses appetite, contributes to liver disease, and is generally harder to digest for people.
Not all sugar sources are created equal. Your best sugar sweetener options are those naturally occurring from fruit, raw honey, maple syrup, molasses, agave nectar, and coconut/palm sugar. These options offer solid nutritional benefit for their sugar content compared to other sweeteners.
Sugar sources that don’t provide any health benefits include corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and table sugar. These are the hardest for the body to metabolize.
I didn’t mention a daily recommended intake because I believe that our best bet is just to limit all sugar consumption as much as possible. Sugar in all of its forms is snuck into so many products: meats, sauces, spices, drinks, etc. Being mindful of what you’re consuming and reading labels is a great first step in reducing how much you’re taking in!