All sugar is basically the same, isn’t it?
No, not exactly. If we are talking about calories, then yes, most sugars work out to be about 16 calories per teaspoon. However, that is not the only piece of information that is pertinent to your health. According to the CDC, about 10% of Americans have diabetes and almost 28% are undiagnosed. The culprit—sugar! Not to mention, all the other health problems excess sugar intake causes. For example, one third of adults are obese and, in children, 18% and climbing (National Institutes of Health). However, our bodies DO need sugar to an extent. In fact, essentially everything we consume gets converted into sugar and then into energy for our body to use.
One important thing to note is: the kind of sugar you ingest determines what your body is going to do with it. If you ingest a substitute sugar like sucralose, for example, your body may not recognize it as food and may just dump it out your other end like nothing happened. For many people though, the body will identify the sucralose as “huh, what is this?” and respond with “well, I’ll just store this since I don’t know what to do with it.” In other words, despite the fact that sucralose has zero calories, your body will pile on weight from it regardless. Fun fact: Sucralose was originally created as an insecticide and a scientist studying it accidentally discovered that it tastes sweet. The FDA approved it as a sweetener within limited consumption. But since so many food items and fitness supplements have sucralose in them, now there is no way to tell how much we are poisoning ourselves on a daily basis.
Aspartame is a known cancer-causing agent. Acesulfame potassium is now in many foods to replace it, but is still related to aspartame. Please avoid at all costs!
Honey is probably one of the best kinds of sweeteners you can ingest. It actually has many benefits:
- Helps prevent cancer and heart disease
- Reduces ulcers and gastrointestinal disorders
- Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal
- Increases athletic performance
- Reduces cough and throat irritation
- Helps regulate blood sugar
- Heals wounds and burns
- Calms allergies when honey from your local area is consumed
Fruit sugar or fructose is still not great for you when consumed in high quantities, but some fruits have a long list of great nutrients. They contain varied vitamins, water, and fiber, which are all necessary for proper digestive function and body health in general.
White sugar is white because it goes through a bleaching process. The chemicals used to bleach the sugar are fine in small quantities, but when consumed often can put you at risk for osteoporosis, skin problems, lung problems, and more.
Brown sugar is basically what you have before you make white sugar.
Corn syrup is in everything! Well, not really, but it is being used in an overwhelming amount of our foods and beverages due to the fact that it is cheap for manufacturers to use. High fructose corn syrup and corn syrup are like death salesmen if there were such a thing. They are the “major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay, and more,” says Dr. Hyman M.D.
There are more sugars and sugar substitutes I could share with you, but these are the major ones. So, in conclusion, yes, it does make a difference if you eat candy instead of a banana, or diet soda instead of tea with honey.
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