Not All Sugars are Created Equal
It’s true – most of us have a bit of a sweet tooth. That’s how Lenny & Larry’s came to be. But there is so much talk these days about how bad sugar is, and we can see how it’s easy to get a bit confused. After all, sugar is natural, right? If it comes from the earth, it must be good!
Unfortunately, the truth is a bit more complicated. Even though it is a naturally occurring thing, not all sugars are created equal. There are different types of sugar, and there are even scientific studies that single out some sugars as the culprit in serious health issues such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease (still the number one killer in America today)
- Fatty liver disease
- Dyslipidemia, which leads to heart attacks, high blood pressure and/or stroke
Any of these diseases can be blamed on high sugar consumption. All you have to do is look at America’s growing waistline and it’s easy to believe all the hype and jump on the ‘blame sugar’ bandwagon. But not all sugar is created equal.
Sugar, Sugar Everywhere!
While it’s true that sugar molecules are pretty much the same no matter where it comes from, their effect on the body couldn’t be more different. The 3 main types of sugar are fructose, glucose, and sucrose.
- Fructose is the sugar that is naturally found in fruits and vegetables.
- Sucrose is the sugar that is produced from sugar cane, and used by us as table sugar. White sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, it all comes from the cane.
- Glucose is the sugar that is produced by your body, broken down from the foods we eat. Glucose is distributed in our body through our blood for us to use as energy, and what we don’t burn off is stored.
Is All Sugar Bad?
Fructose and sucrose in and of themselves are okay. After all, they are a natural ingredient in fruits and veggies, and we can all agree that those are good. We need sugar to survive. Our brains, muscles and bodily functions wouldn’t work without it! The difference between these natural sugars and refined sugars is that fresh fruits and vegetables contain nutrients and enzymes that help our bodies break down their sugars and regulate its gradual release into our blood. Mother Nature is amazing in that sense: everything we need to sustain life is contained in the foods we take from the earth.
However, when we start to manipulate the natural sugars, we lose these essential components. This takes away the balancing effect of the natural enzymes and throws our body’s processes completely out of whack. This is what “bad” sugars tend to do, which are the refined, artificial or highly concentrated sweeteners that are completely stripped of all nutrients. When we eat too much of them, eventually our bodies start to fight back. Inflammation, metabolic disorders and even cancer have been attributed to refined sugars.
But it Tastes Like Sugar!
Processed foods often contain high levels of high fructose corn syrup. This is a highly concentrated form of sweetener made from corn, and contains both fructose and sucrose. Aside from having a very high glycemic index, it lacks the natural enzymes that help the body to break it down, and can quickly cause an overload if consumed in large quantities.
It’s one of the most common sweeteners, and you’ll find it in:
- juice drinks
- breakfast cereals
- cold cuts
- and more
Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and sugar-alcohols like maltitol, xylitol, mannitol and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates have low caloric counts and negligible glycemic value, so they are often promoted as an alternative to high-sugar foods and beverages. They are made from sugar, but altered through a chemical process, and have no benefit to your health aside from the fact that they are low in calories, won’t rot your teeth and don’t cause an insulin reaction. So, good for diabetics, but not something a normal, healthy person should seek out.
Aspartame in particular has been connected to some nasty health issues, including seizures. Sucralose (in Splenda) is processed using chlorine (bleach!), which you probably don’t want to be eating just on principle. To be on the healthy side, stick to natural sugars like fructose, or foods that are sweetened with natural fruit juice. If it comes from nature, your body already knows what to do with it.
Keeping it Real
Knowing all sugars are not created equal, Lenny & Larry’s The Complete Cookie does not contain any high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, or sugar alcohols! Our cookies are made with only the highest quality natural fruit sweeteners and non-GMO plant protein. These are the kinds of sweets you can feel good about on so many levels, because they’re packed with protein, fiber and natural sugars that taste so great you won’t even notice how good they are for you. Go ahead and try one today!
Love this article! I think it does a great job explaining the differences in what sugar to watch out for. I think the biggest confusion for some is the thought, that all sugar is bad for you. Everything in moderation, right. But then again, as Michèle Hozer's documentary entitled "Sugar Coated," what does moderation exactly mean to Americans?