July 27, 2020 at 09:00PM
Diet culture has told us to be scared of certain foods. And the latest one is sugar!
So is sugar as bad as we’re told?
Sugar comes in so many different forms. Fruits can be high in natural sugars, however this sugar is unrefined, and completely fine to include as part of a healthy diet! Fruit also contains so much fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so the sugar component isn’t something to fear!
In addition to fruit, I love to use honey and maple syrup in my recipes (especially when baking healthy treats!) as these are unrefined sources of sugar. It’s still important to be mindful of these sweeteners, and enjoy them in moderation. The JSHealth App and blog contains a bunch of healthy treat recipes which use natural sweeteners in moderation.
On the other hand, refined sugars such as white and brown sugars and high fructose corn syrup found in many processed and packaged foods, can absolutely spike your blood sugar levels, and bring your energy levels crashing down.
In most processed foods, you’ll find a lot of added sugars, which is something to be aware of. When choosing packaged or processed foods, try to aim to select products which contain 5-10g of sugar per 100g as a general guideline – this helps ensure you’re choosing quality products without added nasties!
However again, these are fine to include as part of your healthy diet, when enjoyed in moderation. No need to fear them – more be aware of them.
So now let’s consider artificial sweeteners…
Are these really any healthier than normal sugar? I urge you to reconsider enjoying them as part of your diet. The science around these sweeteners is concerning.
The truth is, most of these sweeteners are no healthier than regular sugar. Research has found some of these sweeteners can have a harmful impact on your gut microbiome, as well as containing potentially dangerous chemicals, which can negatively affect your body. These sweeteners have also been found to increase hunger and sugar cravings, affect mood, and may cause headaches and other side effects.
The important message to take away from this is that sugar is fine to include as part of a healthy and balanced diet! Diet culture has made us so scared of sugar, but it is completely okay in moderation! Instead, limit the artificial sweeteners – they’re not as “healthy” as we’ve been led to believe!
Sugar isn’t something to be scared of!
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Liem D, De Graaf C. Sweet and sour preferences in young children and adults: role of repeated exposure. Physiology & Behavior. 2004;83(3):421-429