Many people that workout at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness in Raleigh, NC, come to lose weight. They know that what they eat makes a huge difference in whether they lose weight. Some switch their refined sugar for honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar, while others cut out added sugar entirely and opt to get their sweetness from adding fruit, a true source of natural sugar. Is there a difference? The answer is yes. Which type of sugar is best to add to your meal? It’s easy to answer that, eating fruit is far superior to adding any other type of sugar, natural or refined.
It’s all about delivery and the type of sugar.
It gets pretty confusing when you start to get to the finer points of sugar. It’s all about how your body uses that type of sugar and how it’s delivered. Fructose is the natural sugar in fruit. If you use straight fructose, it’s just as bad as using table sugar. Eating too much, such as using too much agave syrup is just as bad as using too much table sugar. Sucrose is table sugar. It’s a combination of glucose and fructose that occurs naturally and is in beets and sugar cane. Your body has to break it down to fructose and glucose before using it. While it’s not good for you, the combination of fructose and glucose into HFCS—high fructose corn syrup—is even worse.
If natural sugar is delivered in fruit and milk, it’s hard to get too much.
Your body handles the sugar in milk and fruit far differently than it handles added sugar in food that is processed. Refined sugar breaks down quickly, spiking your blood sugar and insulin levels. It’s simply digested too quickly. If you eat a tablespoon of sugar, you won’t feel full, but if you eat a half grapefruit, you will, even though the half grapefruit contains fewer calories. It’s the fiber in the grapefruit that fills you. The fiber slows the delivery of the sugar, so you eat less, while getting more nutrition.
Natural sugar is in fruit and dairy products.
Dairy products like cheese and milk also contain natural sugar, which is lactose. Just like fruit that contains nutrients and fiber, the lactose is delivered with other nutrients, such as protein, calcium, iodine, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins B2 and B12. The protein and fat in milk helps to keep you feeling fuller longer, just as the fiber in fruit does. For those with diabetes, monitoring even this type of sugar intake is important, but it affects the blood sugar far less than added sugar, even if it’s natural added sugar, like maple syrup.
- The key to losing weight and staying healthy is to avoid products with added sugar. Even if that granola bar says all natural, if it has added sugar, put it down and walk away. Stick with whole food for snacks, like fruit or nuts.
- What you drink makes a huge difference, too. Soft drinks and sports drinks add about 44% of the sugar to the American diet. Stick with water. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel when you do.
- You might hear commercials touting HFCS as a natural type of sugar, so it’s good for you. That’s not true. Studies show that high fructose corn syrup can cause increased body weight and other problems.
- Giving up added sugar isn’t easy. It takes time to kick the habit. Sugar affects the same area of the brain as opioids do and is as addictive.
For more information, contact Evolution Lifestyle Fitness