As a continuation of my “Ultimate Guide to Nutrients”, today I’ll discuss sugar. So, just what is sugar? Sugar is considered a “simple carbohydrate”. Here is a refresher on simple carbohydrates, from my previous carbohydrate article:
SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES-consist of monosaccharides and disaccharides.These carbohydrates includes glucose. The function of glucose in the body is to provide the cells of the body energy. Other energy sources can be used, but it is the preferred fuel for the nervous system/brain and the sole energy source red blood cells. In other words, carbohydrates are a very important part of any healthy diet.
Here’s a breakdown of simple carbohydrates.
- Monosaccharides-1 sugar molecule
- Disaccharides-2 sugar molecules
- lactose-made up of galactose and glucose…found in milk and dairy products
- sucrose-made up of fructose and glucose…simple table sugar
- maltose-made up of 2 glucose molecules…not found in many food items, but instead made from the breakdown of starch, such as the production of beer.
As stated above, sucrose (table sugar) is 50/50 glucose/fructose. While glucose plays a huge role in the body, fructose plays no role at all. In fact, fructose is considered toxic by some doctors and nutritionists. We’ll get into why (via a video) in a minute. First, let’s talk how much and types of sugar.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU EAT? You should be consuming 6-9 teaspoons of sugar per day. (FYI-the average intake is 22 teaspoons per day!)
WHAT TYPE OF SUGAR SHOULD YOU EAT? Below is an infographic I’ve put together, detailing the types of sugar. The best type on the list below, is DATE SUGAR, RAPADURA AND RAW HONEY. I’ll cover these in more detail in a future article. Suffice it to say, these are the least processed of the sugars, and considered a whole food, which means they contain most of the original vitamins and minerals available in raw sugar and honey. Keep in mind that sugar is sugar, no matter what form, and should be consumed in moderation.
Here is a free PDF of the Glossary of Sugar (1).
THE GLOSSARY OF SUGAR
Instead of trying to explain how sugar is digested in the system, and just how bad it is for you, (which would take too long) I found some phenomenal videos to explain it.
This first video gets a bit scientific and technical, but, does a phenomenal job explaining the in’s and out’s of sugar digestion. It explains how fructose destroys the liver in the same manner as alcohol, creating fatty liver disease, which can lead to cirrhosis.
WHY Sugar is as Bad as Alcohol
(Fructose, The Liver Toxin)
These next two videos are by Dr. Robert Lustig. Dr. Lustig is an endocrinologist, and expert on childhood obesity and sugar. Here is a clip about Dr. Lustig.
Robert H. Lustig (born 1957) is an American pediatric endocrinologist. He is Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he specializes in neuroendocrinology and childhood obesity.
Sugar — the elephant in the kitchen:
Robert Lustig at TEDxBermuda 2013
Sugar: The Bitter Truth
(Full length lecture/documentary)
Robert Lustig at the University of California-2009
I couldn’t find this next documentary for free, however, you can rent it from youtube for $3.99. It’s a wonderful documentary, which investigates what so-called “healthy” food does to the body. Damon Gameau runs an experiment, in which he ventures to consume the equivalent of 40 teaspoons of sugar (the average currently consumed by Australians) by only eating processed food. He was not allowed to eat sweets, candy, granulated sugar or soda. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the dangers of processed food and sugar. (UPDATE: I did find this on AMAZON PRIME-if you are a member of Amazon Prime, it is included in your membership)
Rent on youtube.com for $3.99
(full length documentary-very informative and worth the watch)
In closing, I wanted to update you on some changes I’ve made to my 2 blog series: How to eat healthy and Ultimate guide to nutrients. These series are very time consuming to do properly, therefore, due to the increasing difficulty of my master’s degree coursework, I have been forced to cut back on the frequency of the articles. Each series will be cut back from 4 times per month to two times per month as follows:
ULTIMATE GUIDE TO NUTRIENTS WILL BE PUBLISHED THE 1ST AND 3RD TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH
HOW TO EAT HEALTHY WILL BE PUBLISHED THE 2ND AND 4TH TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH