Just like with calories, not all sugars are created equal.
Though an overload of sugar from unhealthy, unnatural sources can absolutely be bad for your health, causing obesity, heart problems and more, sugar from the right sources can actually have the opposite effect.
It can give you energy. It can keep your body strong and functioning. It can keep your brain at its best. Heck, it can even help you metabolize fats better!
The important thing with sugars is to know how to spot the difference – to know when sugars are bad and when sugars are good.
We hear about bad sugars all the time. They’re the ones that are added to your sodas, your breakfast cereals, your granola bars and anything and everything in between.
Sure, they provide you with quick bursts of energy, but that energy fades fast, and you’re left feeling lethargic, weak and just plain gross.
Added sugars and sweeteners also provide no nutritional value. They don’t have proteins, fibers or vitamins, and they do nothing to make you feel strong or able.
To make matters worse, these sugary foods are also high in calories, and that means a higher chance of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other serious health issues.
Bad sugars can be found in the obvious stuff – cookies, cakes, desserts and off-the-shelf pre-made foods and staples. It can also be found in simple carbohydrates, like white potatoes, white flour and even alcohol.
As a general rule, avoid anything that has sucrose in it. This is basic table sugar, and it’s not something your body can use toward long-term energy. You’ll also want to look for any added sweeteners (like Stevia) or syrups on labels. These are no-no’s as well.
Good sugars come from healthy, naturally-occurring sources, like fruits and vegetables.
Fructose, for example, is a sugar that’s great for your body. It’s found in fruit, and it helps boost your energy and keep you going for extended periods of time.
Good sugars can also be stored in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. When your blood sugar drops, this glycogen is used to replenish them and keep levels stable. This is crucial if you’re working out or exerting yourself heavily.
If you don’t have enough glycogen stored up during these times of high exertion, then your body will begin to use alternative sources for energy – like your muscles. If this occurs too much, it can even lead to kidney damage, brain damage or other severe health problems.
The best sources of good sugars are going to be greens, fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains. If you eat dairy, that’s also a source of sugar, but be careful not to consume too much. Dairy is high in fat, and it often contains added sugars – ones we don’t want in our bodies.
The Scoop on Sugars
The moral of the story: not all sugar is bad for you.
Though sugar is often the scapegoat for many of our country’s health and obesity problems, sugar is also a necessary part of a balanced diet. Without it, we would be weak, lethargic and unfit to go through daily life.
If you want to be as healthy as can be, don’t cut out all sugars blindly. While you should certainly avoid refined sugars and foods with added sweeteners and syrups, make sure you’re getting plenty of natural sugars.
Eat complex carbohydrates, consume lots of fruits and vegetables, and get a good amount of daily grains. These will ensure you’re not just getting enough natural sugar, but also proper amounts of nutrients and minerals, too.
Have more questions about sugar? Want help clearing the air on what you should or shouldn’t eat to lose weight? Ask me in the comments!
Please share this article with all of your family and friends so that they can also benefit from the right kind of sugar.
Together we can make this world a happier, healthier world!