With the holidays upon us, and cookies and treats lurking around every corner, I thought I’d share a little about sugar and sugar substitutes.
The corn syrup makers have been telling us that white sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, even high-fructose corn syrup are all roughly the same mix of simple sugars called glucose and fructose. They’re correct that these carbohydrates have roughly the same number of calories (about 20 calories per teaspoon), but, there are some big differences in these sugars.
Sweeteners with a high fructose content such as High Fructose Corn Syrup and agave syrup can increase your risk of heart & liver disease because they can cause dangerous growths of fat cells (triglycerides) around vital organs and they are able to trigger the early stages of diabetes, gout, and heart disease. It isn’t that fructose in-and-of-itself is bad (in fact, it’s naturally in lots of whole foods like fruits)– it’s the excessive amounts that many people consume that make it dangerous. Read more from Dr. Mercola on the science of too much fructose. Also, take a look at this abstract from the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Noted, Fructose doesn’t raise your blood sugar as much as other sugars do, and agave syrup is sweeter than other sugars, so you can use less of it. I’ve heard many times that agave nectar is the best natural sweetening option for people with diabetes or hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, due to its high fructose levels and its ability to raise triglyceride levels. And, agave nectar was banned by the Glycemic Research Institute, a lab that provides certification for low-glycemic foods.
For me, I’d rather have natural things like sugar, honey, maple syrup. I’m sure that my body knows what to do with natural things. I try to avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup, and artificial sweeteners like Splenda, and aspartame as much as possible. The book “Skinny Bitch” has lots more info on artificial sweeteners.
That means avoiding sodas most of the time (either diet or regular). Sodas are the main reason for all that excessive fructose in our diets.
Like all things, I believe in balance, but do I really need a soda when a glass of water is pretty darn good. And, as most of you know, I truly believe in the power of the sweet treat. I just like to think about what I’m eating and I ALWAYS read the labels before I blindly shove something in my mouth.
As my husband likes to say. “all things in moderation, including moderation.”