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Sugar. Are they really all the same?

Over the past few years we’ve seen an increase in the promotion of alternative sugars and I don’t know about you, but it’s all a little confusing! Trying to understand the reasons why one sugar is better than another is a challenge for some, especially when we’ve been told ‘all sugar’ is bad for you.

There are so many different fancy sugars out there so for the purposes of this share, I’ll keep this as simple as possible. We’re only going to look at white, raw and coconut sugar for now. While I’m at it, I will also include some info about fruit sugars and artificial sweeteners, too.

To understand sugar further, we need to discuss two integral factors; the GI index and the processing of sugar.

Firstly let’s clarify what the GI index is. The GI index (glycaemic index) is a rating system for foods containing carbs.

Essentially, it shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar levels. High GI foods spike your blood sugar levels quickly and therefore require lots of insulin to support their digestion.

They create that ‘sugar crash’, and excess intake can burden the liver and the pancreas. This is how we create insulin resistance and insulin sensitivities, and over time can lead to type 2 diabetes as our pancreas become overloaded and gradually lose the capacity to produce enough insulin!

Lower GI foods do not create this sudden rise and fall in your blood sugar levels and therefore require far less insulin resulting in far more stable blood sugar levels.

Low GI foods are better for you, period!

Now let’s look at the processing of sugar.

Let’s start with coconut sugar first.

In the production of coconut sugar the farmers only need to heat the sap of the coconut flower enough to evaporate the moisture. What remains is then grinded and turned into coconut sugar granules. That’s it! So, coconut sugar undergoes very little processing with no chemical involvement so not only does the sugar retain trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids, it does not contain any chemical residue.

Coconut sugar has a low GI rating too of just 35. Check out the comparisons below to see the difference here!

  • Rice malt syrup 25

  • Coconut sugar 35

  • Raw honey 30 (processed honey 50)

  • Maple syrup 50

  • Blackstrap molasses 55

  • Refined white sugar 100

Guess where fructose sits? You know the sugar in fruit that apparently causes diabetes. It generally sits at between 3-18!

Let’s now look at the processing of white sugar.

Refining raw cane sugar into white sugar is a complicated process that involves the use of hundreds of compounds. The sugar cane is cut, washed in hot water and pressed. The extracted juice is then filtered with slaked lime. It is refined with chemicals such as sulfur dioxide, phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide and in doing this, is stripped of all the natural nutrition it originally had.

Sulfur dioxide is what makes sugar white. The sulfur dioxide bleaches the cane sugar. Sulfur dioxide is the chemical that, when released by factories using fossil fuels, combines with the atmosphere and can produce acid rain. It can also have adverse effects when inhaled.

Phosphoric acid is added to remove any impurities. This acid is also commonly added to carbonated sodas. Studies show that this additive can be as damaging to your teeth as battery acid.

A newer method for clarifying cane sugar involves using chemicals known as polyacrylamides. They are a bi-product of acrylamide which is a known neurotoxin. These can damage male reproductive glands and sweat glands and wreak havoc in hormonal systems.

So what about brown sugar? Well brown sugar is essentially white sugar but with some of the molasses left in it. The molasses gives it its darker colour but other than that they are identical.

And if you’re thinking “what about raw sugar”, well raw sugar isn't even really raw. It's just slightly less refined, so it retains some of the molasses. But there's no real health real benefit from it. There's no more nutritional value in raw sugar than there is in white sugar or brown sugar, and their chemical composition is almost identical.

And while we’re here, don’t be disillusioned with the word ‘organic’ on the label. It doesn’t always mean what you think it means. A common misconception is that organic sugar is unrefined and minimally processed.

Organic is not the same as unprocessed. Organic sugars go through a great deal of processing but less than refined sugars.

Organic is not the same as unrefined. Organic sugars are only slightly less refined than table sugar.

And nutritionally speaking, organic sugars are no better than white sugar. So yes, less chemical residue left from the cultivation process and better for the environment but it’s still sugar!

So, after all that, do you see how comparing white sugar to a piece of fruit is not only ridiculous, but also dangerous?

Back in 2010 when I was suffering with IBS I was diagnosed with 'Fructose Malabsorption'. I was told that eating fruit was making me sick because my body could not break down the fruit sugar.

That was bullshit. I see that now, but at the time I chose to trust my doctors and as a result I made myself very sick. You cannot thrive if you do not eat fruit and veggies, it is as simple as that and I learned that the hard way.

Every single cell in your body needs an abundance of nutrients to function, most of which come from plants. If you cannot digest fructose you need to address the level of fat in your system.

Fructose cannot be processed effectively when there are high levels of fat present. I lost 45kgs and did several liver cleanses and voila, I could then juice fast for 60 days a time without issues, whereas before this, I could not eat a piece of fruit without having diarrhoea and gastric spasms. See what I'm saying here? Fat was the problem, not fruit! Fruit was actually the solution!

Many different fruits like grapefruit, lime and lemon for example emulsify fat, they break down fats from inside your body, so if you have too much fat in your system (and I’m not just talking about the fat you see in the mirror, the fat the lines your arteries, too!) the solution is to eat as much fruit as you can possibly tolerate!

I would like to add that sugars present in whole fruits are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream at a slower pace than added sugars. Studies indicate that sugars consumed in their natural sources do not impact health. But, when that sugar is removed from its original source and refined, that’s when things go south.

Lastly, let’s talk briefly artificial sweeteners and if you’ve been following me a while now you’d know that these sweeteners are banned from my house.

Cyclamate, Aspartame, Neotame, Sucralose, Saccharin, Acesulfame K, all poison that literally destroys brain tissue.

When these compounds enter your body are are heated to body temp they are broken down into formaldehyde and formic acid.

Formaldehyde is used to embalm you when you’re dead. It literally hardens your arteries and causes severe calcification on the inside of your body.

See why it may not be a good idea to ingest this stuff? And it's in more products than you think!

I hope this helped you make better choices at the checkout.

Love to all!

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