When did we get so scared of sugar?
The media, (in order to avoid blaming big food corps or pharma for our health crisis) happily turned our attention towards sugar.
It is an easy blame, because the claims are true.
The claims about refined sugar.
A tiny detail that got overlooked, accidentally turning the blame on ALL sugar.
Refined sugar is an inflammatory and is associated with increasing the risks of a number of health issues- and bonus for snack companies that are trying to sell more products: it's cheap to get and crazy addicting.
These are examples of over-processed refined sugars to avoid that have snuck their way into our food labels:
High fructose corn syrup
Evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrates
These mainly come from sugar cane or beets and then are brought through an extraction and purification process- ridding them of fiber an nutrients.
The fiber is a must, because it slows the rate of glucose into our bloodstream.
This is why eating a ripe banana or a sweet apple is WAY different than eating Oreos or soda.
So if we love our sweets, what natural sugars (in addition to fruit) should we try to be focusing on?
My favorite less refined sweeteners to use are:
Pure maple syrup
Dates and date syrup
Coconut Sugar (occasionally)
Organic raw cane sugar (occasionally)
Anytime a recipe calls for plain refined white sugar I make these swaps, especially when baking. I then also make a point to avoid purchasing any packaged snacks or groceries that have a lot of the refined sugars in the label.
Energy bars, sodas, sports drinks, and snack foods love to do this.
An easy rule: if you can't pronounce the ingredient in the label or it sounds foreign to you, you probably don't want to eat it either.
The good news? You aren't crazy for craving sugar.
We may have actually evolved to crave it as survival.
Our bodies are so smart they know sugar converts easily into energy.
So early humans that ate the most fruit lived longer and had more babies.
And unlike candy, the sugar attached to the fiber in fruit is magic because it slows down that blood sugar spike.
We have innate survival instincts to crave sweet foods, and thats not because we need junk food to survive, it's because eating fiber-filled strawberries, dates, pears, and grapes is anti-inflammatory and disease fighting.
We're not crazy, our bodies just know how to thrive.