Sugar, a love story….

Exerp. from wiki:

Sugar is the generalized name for sweet, short-chain, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. They are carbohydrates, composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. “

Whenever I have someone approach me haphazardly about nutrition, (i.e. “So like, tell me how I need to eat”) before I even respond I usually start hearing a lot of defenses from them….”I really don’t eat very much….I don’t eat fast food…..I don’t eat sugar….” ALL of these responses are pretty typical, the last one being probably the biggest misconception of all when it comes to diet and nutrition.

First and foremost, you NEED sugar to survive…

Glucose aka SUGAR, is the only fuel normally used by brain cells. Because neurons cannot store glucose, they depend on the bloodstream to deliver a constant supply of this precious fuel. This blood sugar is obtained from carbohydrates: the starches and sugars you eat in the form of grains and legumes, fruits and vegetables”

….you read that right, even VEGETABLES contain a form of sugar. The word carbohydrate is basically a blanket term for sugar…you wouldn’t call whole wheat pasta sugar, but you would call it a carbohydrate, and when it is broken down into its simplest form and absorbed into the blood stream, it is recognized by the body as SUGAR! An essential nutrient to human life. Table sugar to sweet potato, the body recognizes it the same, sugar is sugar.

Now this doesn’t mean I’m advocating you taking tablespoon upon tablespoon of sugar in your morning coffee, it won’t kill you but isn’t necessarily healthy either, there is a big difference between how your body processes refined/simple sugar and how it processes a fiber and vitamin rich food like quinoa, corn, potatoes and beans. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar in the blood stream, basically because fiber its self is slower to digest. This means a slow release of energy into your cells, a far cry from what we remember feeling as a child after eating an entire package of gummy candy. Not to mention complex carbohydrates (those containing fiber, to simplify) are typically  lot more nutrient dense than their simple counterparts. With the exception of fruit, that is.

Complex Carbs: (eat these, a lot)

Sweet/white potatoes

Oatmeal

Corn

Whole wheat products

Quinoa

Buckwheat

Spelt

Brown rice

etc…

Simple carbs: (eat these, on occasion)

White sugar

Brown sugar

White rice

White flour products

Fruit

Concentrated fruit juices

etc…

To simplify, there is ‘sugar’ in almost everything you eat, outside of pure fat (oils, animal fats) and things like animal protein. So if you’re honestly trying to ‘quit sugar’, the ‘no added sugar’ blueberry muffin is kind of a pastry lie. My honest advice?  Stop drinking soda, diet or otherwise, steer clear of refined white flours, pasteurized juices and empty calories like candy and lattes. There are slightly different rules for athletes/post training carb uptake,  and everyones carbohydrate needs are different, but to maintain a healthy body (and mind) eliminating ALL sugar is just a bad decision. Eliminating the ones that are of no nutritional benefit though, are a good idea for the general population and their health.

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